Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter had first crack at reporting on our EC Comics Library series and talked to our chief and editor of the series, Gary Groth: "The intention, says the publisher, is to present the material to a new generation that may not have been exposed to the EC Comics except in fits and starts, and to better underline specific artistic achievements of creators like Harvey Kurtzman, Wally Wood and Bernard Krigstein…. 'I'm leaning toward treating each individual book as an individual book, customized to the individual artist,' Groth stated. 'I want to get away from treating EC Comics as this kind of cultist monolith. I want the stories to stand on their own.'" Be sure to read the whole thing for many more details.
Meanwhile, over at Robot 6 Chris Mautner broke the news about The Complete ZAP Comix and posted an exclusive Q&A with Gary Groth: "We’re going to reproduce it in a facsimile form, the book will have the covers interspersed throughout, so it will be each issue of the comic chronologically published in the same format as the comic itself, but simply in book form. We’re going to be printing it a little larger than the comic, I don’t know the exact dimensions. It will be oversize, a little larger than the comic itself. The covers will be reproduced in full color, as they were in the original comics." Head over there for the full scoop.
Here's a roundup of more reaction to both announcements from around the web:
Boing Boing's David Pescovitz: "First published in 1968, Zap Comix is considered to be the freaky forefather of the underground comix movement that still thrives today. Created by R. Crumb, the Zap #1 solely featured his work with subsequent issues introducing such groundbreaking artists as S. Clay Wilson, Robert Williams, Gilbert Shelton, Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, Paul Mavrides, and 'Spain' Rodriguez. Today, Fantagraphics Books keeps the Zap spirit alive and so I was thrilled to learn that they’ve just announced the forthcoming publication of The Complete Zap Comix. The 800 page, two-volume, slipcased, hardcover set will hit stores in Fall 2012."
The A.V. Club's Noel Murray: "Continuing Fantagraphics’ master plan to separate comics fans from their life savings, the company announced two new archival projects at Comic-Con last week… Both the Zap book and the EC series are due to arrive in 2012, joining Fantagraphics’ other archival lines — like the series collecting the newspaper strips Peanuts, Popeye, Krazy Kat, Mickey Mouse, and soon Pogo and Nancy — as well as the ongoing work of such modern masters as Peter Bagge, Jason and Los Bros Hernandez. So… all the more reason for congress to work together to avert a catastrophic meltdown of the global economy, yes?"
Sean T. Collins at Attentiondeficitdisorderly: "I’m excited about this [EC] project, not just because with Peanuts and Mickey Mouse and the Disney Ducks and Popeye and Krazy Kat and so on Fantagraphics has established itself as the best publisher of archival material, but because their approach here sounds like it’ll be more along the lines of what they’ve done for Jacques Tardi recently, or even the Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez Love and Rockets digests. They’re very good at that sort of thing, too."
Collins also reports for Robot 6: "What sets the Fantagraphics reprint project apart is that individual creators’ work will be culled from the series in which it appeared and presented in a series of black-and-white solo spotlight volumes."
Comic Book Resources' Augie de Blieck: "Fantagraphics has picked up the license to reprint EC Comics. These will be black and white editions, most interestingly broken up by creator. Some of the purists may sputter at that, but I think it's a smart thing. Anthologies don't sell well in this market, even as reprints. I think targeting specific creators in an industry filled with fans who follow creators is the best way to maximize the license."
Chris Marshall at Collected Comics Library: "Well here’s some news we’ve been waiting for a long time…. I admit that I’m a little disappointed that the color Gemstone [EC Archives] books won’t be finished, but I’m confident that Fantagraphics will to a wonderful job and I’ll be sure to collect them."