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Comics | Novelist Jonathan Lethem is the guest editor for this year’s Best American Comics collection, the first to come from outside the comics realm. Series editor Bill Kartalopoulos says he was “amazing”: “He clearly knows a lot about comics and cartooning. His novels draw on his lifelong love of comic books, he’s written Omega the Unknown for Marvel, and he’s more than familiar with the historical and contemporary landmarks in comics. But as someone who’s not ‘from’ the comics field he brings an entirely fresh perspective to the material from the past year that we considered for the book. He doesn’t bring any baggage to the table about who ‘should’ be included in this volume based on status or popularity or currency. Comics can be so insular sometimes, so we’re lucky to have this kind of attention from someone like Jonathan.” [Publishers Weekly]
Editor Greg Sadowski‘s new Fantagraphics book, Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941, is a spectacular snapshot of a historical period long before comic book company events, crossovers and alternate covers or universes. As detailed by the publisher: “The enduring cultural phenomenon of comic book heroes was invented in the late 1930s by a talented and hungry group of artists and writers barely out of their teens, flying by the seat of their pants to create something new, exciting, and above all profitable. The iconography and mythology they created flourishes to this day in comic books, video, movies, fine art, advertising, and practically all other media. Supermen! collects the best and the brightest of this first generation, including Jack Cole, Will Eisner, Bill Everett, Lou Fine, Fletcher Hanks, Jack Kirby, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, and Basil Wolverton.” The book sports a foreword by Jonathan Lethem. My thanks to Sadowski for his willingness to discuss his editorial approach on this project and after learning some of what did not make the first volume, I look forward to seeing a second volume down the road as time and other logistics permit. Fantagraphics also offers folks the chance to download an “11-page PDF excerpt (7.4 MB) featuring an entire story by Will Eisner and Lou Fine starring The Flame!”
Tim O’Shea: How did the foreword by Jonathan Lethem come about?
Greg Sadowski: Someone at Fantagraphics approached him, and Jonathan really came thorough – his foreword starts things off beautifully.