Friday, 27 April 2012

The Fantagraphics Two-Step

Let's Twist Again or 'The Fantagraphics Two-Step' (from Cerebus #167, February 1993)
Art by Dave Sim
(Click Image To Enlarge)
(from the essay Last Waltz, Cerebus #162, September 1992)
I remember talking to Gary [Groth, Fantagraphics publisher] early this year on the phone just before the start of the Tour, discussing with him the approach I intended to take in discussions with retailers; advocating that the term Independent comics was no longer functional and that a better choice would be Alternative comics... even a comic book published by DC, Sandman would qualify as just such a...

"Is that any good?" he interrupted.

Certain that I had misheard or misunderstood, I asked him, was what any good?

"Sandman. Is it any good?"

How is one to answer? Does one laugh? Does one cry?

Is Sandman any good?

...When someone has carved himself a niche in the world of comics journalism; aspires to raise the quality of that journalism and purports to be the foremost spokesman for an emergent medium. When someone invests time and energy and money and all of his considerable intellectual powers to initiate, provoke and mold the debate on the merits and detriments of the comic book medium.

Is Sandman any good.

Gary is isolated.

(reprinted from Aardvark Comment, Cerebus #165, December 1992)
Dear Dave,
I noted with interest your plug for Yahoo. Since Yahoo is now on near-infinite hiatus pending the completion of the seven-part Palestine mini-series [by Joe Sacco], I was wondering if you would be willing to offer up some kind of blurb for this new project. I have enclosed a complete Xerox of the first issue, which will be published in December. Sorry I missed you on your trek through Seattle.
Best wishes,
Kim Thompson
Fanatgraphics Books
P.S.: I've read Sandman, but I don't much care for it. Is this a more serious or less serious sin? (Parts of the issue Charlie Vess drew were well written though.)

I've resolved not to have any interaction with Fanatgraphics until I see how the next few issues of the Comics Journal go, Kim. No offence, but I think for the moment, you guys do more harm than good for advancing the medium. Your P.S. is a classic example of the Comics Journal's sneering arrogance.

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