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The best of the best of the year lists

Infinite Kung Fu

With only a couple days left in 2011, here are a few more “best of 2011″ lists from the past few days:

• iFanboy has chosen DC Comics as their publisher of the year. They’ve also listed their best collections of the year, including Infinite Kung Fu, Mr. Murder is Dead, Bone 20th Anniversary Full Color Edition and the Walt Simonson Thor Omnibus.

• ComicsAlliance finished up their countdown of their top comics of the year, with Daredevil and Love and Rockets New Stories Volume 4 taking the top two positions.

• The A.V. Club has posted two separate lists–one focused on superhero and mainstream comics, the second on “graphic novels and art comics.” The mainstream list includes a separate “Best of” section that includes categories like best new characters, best one-shot and “best fix.”

• Kelly Thompson lists 13 “fantastic female creators” for 2011 on Jezebel, which is a companion piece to previous lists she’s done (i.e. no repeats). This year’s list includes Marjorie Liu, Carla Speed McNeil, Renae De Liz and Kelly Sue DeConnick, among others.

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Archaia to bring back classic Fraggle Rock comics

Archaia assembled a talented group of writers and artists for its two anthlogies of comics based on Jim Henson’s 1980s television series Fraggle Rock, but the next volume will go a different route: Reprinting the classics.

The first Fraggle Rock comics came out in 1985-1986, during the show’s heyday, and were published by Star Comics, which was a division of Marvel. The series only ran 8 issues, all of which were written by Stan Kay and illustrated by Marie Severin, who later drew the Fraggle Rock comics that appeared in Muppet Magazine. Marvel reprinted five of these comics in 1988 without the Star logo.

Now Muppet fansite Tough Pigs reports that Archaia will publish a collection of these older Fraggle Rock comics, digitally remastered and collected into a softcover anthology. “That’s 80s content with a modern-day feel! Or at least a modern-day coloring job,” says writer Joe Hennes. The stories include The Magic Time Machine,” “The Trouble With Being #1,” “The Monster That Could Be Anything” and “The Doozer Who Wanted to Be a Fraggle.” The book will retail for $9.95 and will be available on August 31.

Good Lord, do these Floyd Gottfredson Mickey Mouse comics look amazing

Over on the CBR mothership, Shaun Manning interviews Fantagraphics co-publisher Gary Groth about his upcoming reprints of the Mickey Mouse comic strips by artist Floyd Gottfredson, kicking off with Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse, vol. 1: The Race to Death Valley in May. With his trademark blend of erudition and bluntness, Groth details the nuts and bolts of the whole project: The reason Mickey Mouse’s comic strip was an action-adventure serial to begin with, Mickey’s surprisingly feisty personality, the basics on the first few storylines being collected, the essays and other supplemental materials being included in the package, the eventual inclusion of racist material and other items of potential controversy, how big the books will be, and even a bit about Fantagraphics’ parallel plan to release the complete Carl Barks Disney Ducks comics. But I’m sure Groth wouldn’t mind if I said that the real star attraction for the piece are the actual Gottfredson strips used to illustrate it. Simply put, my jaw literally dropped once I opened up these action-packed images, so impressed was I by their power and grace. And since most of Gottfredson’s work has been reprinted rarely, if that, chances are you’ll be bowled over too. Click on over and check them out for yourself.

Exclusive: Fantagraphics to publish the complete Carl Barks

In what is sure to be one of the most acclaimed comics events of 2011, Fantagraphics has announced that they will be publishing a definitive collection of Carl Barks’ seminal run of Donald Duck comic stories. In an exclusive interview with Robot 6, Fantagraphics co-publisher Gary Groth revealed that the company – which announced their plans to publish Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse comics last summer – had acquired the rights to reprint Barks’ work from Disney and that the first volume will be released in fall of this year. The comics will be published in hardcover volumes, with two volumes coming out every year, at a price of about $25 per volume.

Although the stories will be printed in chronological order, the first volume, “Lost in the Andes,” will cover the beginning of Barks’ “peak” period, circa about 1948. The second volume, “Only a Poor Old Man,” will cover roughly the years 1952-54 and feature the first Uncle Scrooge story. Later volumes will fill in the missing gaps, including his earlier work, in a process somewhat similar to Fantagraphics’ publication of George Herriman’s “Krazy Kat.”

For those who aren’t familiar with the name, the Barks library has been one of the great missing links in a time that many have dubbed the “golden age of reprints.”  Acclaimed around the globe for his rich storytelling and characterization, as well as excellent craftsmanship, Barks has long been regarded as one of the great cartoonists of the 20th century, equal to luminaries like Charles Schulz, Robert Crumb and Harvey Kurtzman. He’s been one of the few major American cartoonists whose work has, up till now, not been collected in a comprehensive, manner respectful of his talent (at least not in North America), however, so this announcement comes as extremely good news for any who read and love good comics, let alone are familiar with Barks’ work.

Fantagraphics will release an official announcement about the project tomorrow. In the meantime, click on the link to read our exclusive interview with Gary Groth:

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Fantagraphics to publish Daniel Clowes-designed collections of Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby

The Comics Reporter’s Tom Spurgeon breaks the welcome news that Barnaby, the classic comic strip by Harold and the Purple Crayon writer/artist Crockett Johnson, will be collected by Fantagraphics beginning in April 2012. Designed by Wilson and Ghost World cartoonist Daniel Clowes, the collections will include the strip’s entire ten-year run from 1942-1952, including the strips created by Jack Morley and Ted Ferro after Johnson assumed a story-consultant role on the comic.

Long beloved by the comics cognoscenti, Barnaby tells the tale of young Barnaby Baxter and his cigar-chomping fairy godfather, Mr. O’Malley. As Spurgeon notes, old collections like the one pictured above have been hard to come by, making the strip one of the last great gets available in this, the Golden Age of Comics Reprints — which Fantagraphics arguably kicked off with its similar, Seth-designed Complete Peanuts collections. Barnaby joins Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse and George Herriman’s Krazy Kat dailies on the list of eagerly awaited archival reprint projects headed our way from the publisher over the next several years. (As an aside, my suspicion is that Johnson’s fine line, the whimsy of the material, the rounded and jolly character designs, and even the typeset lettering will all find a receptive audience in the webcomics age.)

Click here to read Spurgeon’s thorough report on the announcement and the strip itself.


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