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July 25, 2014


Fantagraphics Announces Major Vaughn Bodé Publishing Initiative

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Early this morning Fantagraphics and publisher Gary Groth announced a major new publishing initiative featuring the life, art and comics of iconic cartooning figure Vaugh Bodé. In April 2015, Fantagraphics will reintroduce the underground legend into the modern comics conversation via a freshly designed, over-sized omnibus called The Big Book Of Me. There will be more books in the initiative, yet to be announced, the idea being to re-publish the underground cartoonist in a way befitting his stature and the demands of the modern market.

Bodé's Cheech Wizard was one of the well-traveled characters of the underground and overground comics eras. The character dates back to 1956 and Bodé's college newspaper gig. Described as "a lascivious con man" in Fantagraphics' accompanying publicity write-up, Cheech Wizard would remain with the cartoonist past his student days. He eventually appeared in various underground comix and National Lampoon, becoming an iconic image across several US subcultures including graffiti and tattoos.

The publisher will work with Bodé's son, Mark Bodé, who has served as a caretaker of the elder Bodé's work and is himself a well-regarded cartoonist working in style similar to that employed by his father.

The Bodé project represents the first major effort by longtime company mainstay Mike Baehr on the editorial side of making comics after years in various support and administrative positions at the company. Baehr told CR he was extremely excited that this could be one of his first editorial projects with the publisher, and that he hopes he can perhaps work on other Bodé works down the line as they're added to the schedule.

"Much in comics is cyclical, so that right now there's a lot of people taking fantasy devices and genre stuff in whichever direction they choose, without very many constraints -- it's enough that we might be fooled into thinking this generation invented it," critic Joe McCulloch told CR. "Cycling back to Bode will show how wild things could get on a different frontier."

Vaughn Bodé (1941-1975) was inducted into the Will Eisner Hall Of Fame in 2006.

The Big Book Of Me by Vaughn Bodé is due from Fantagraphics in April of 2015. It will be a softcover and will retail at $19.99. These are frequently beautiful and wholly idiosyncratic comics; I'm glad for them to be getting special treatment at a high-end arts-comics publisher and look forward to this first volume.

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posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
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