On this interview episode Derek talks with Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth about his new book Sparring with Gil Kane: Debating the History and Aesthetics of Comics. It’s a collection of thirteen interviews, conversations, and panel transcripts focusing on Kane and his aesthetics. The pieces that Groth collects highlight the legendary artist’s thoughts on the potential and limitations of the medium, his relationship with other creators, and Kane’s place within the larger context of comics history. As Groth reveals, this book was long in the making, and it’s the first of several Gil Kane-related works that Fantagraphics will publish in the coming years.
Fantagraphics is a comics publisher that got by on a shoestring for decades, in service of its mission to prove that comics could be equally as literary and adult as film, novels, or any other storytelling medium. Eventually, Fantagraphics’ flagship publication, The Comics Journal, became the go-to magazine for reviews of noteworthy comics and hard-hitting interviews of their creators.
After more than a decade of work, Tom Spurgeon and Michael Dean have published (through Fantagraphics, of course) a history of the company, called We Told You So: Comics as Art. This week Tom, himself the former Managing Editor of The Comics Journal, is here to talk about Fantagraphics and the work and decisions that went into writing its history.