For a long time I have been an admirer and occasional purchaser of The Comics Journal, an improbably entertaining critical journal of the comics industry published by Fantagraphics. I enjoy reading about the how the world looks from the artist’s viewpoint, the problems they face, the way they go about solving them, the dirt they dish on other artists. The interviews in the Comics Journal are often extraordinarily intimate. And long! I find myself reading and thinking: this must be a labor of love… it is absurdly impractical any other way you look at it. The journal is thick, well-produced, crowded with dangerously long articles, interviews, and harangues. It must sell in tiny quantities. But what great stuff. In addition to the Journal, Fantagraphics publishes comics. The single fact that they publish Chris Ware’s weird and wonderful Quimby the Mouse is enough to justify their place of greatness among comics publishers.
I have wondered what kind of operation could hold this enterprise together, so I was pleased to find this article about Fantagraphics in the Seattle Weekly: Saved by the Beagle. The title refers to the fact that, in securing the rights to publish the Complete Peanuts, Fantagraphics should be able to bank on steady revenues for the next ten years. I’m glad to hear that.