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July 19, 2013


Fantagraphics Announces Massive, Multi-Volume S. Clay Wilson Publishing Project Starting In 2014

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By Tom Spurgeon

imageGreat news from the underground comix historian and writer Patrick Rosenkranz in time for Comic-Con 2013: he's apparently finished his massive work on the seminal underground artist S. Clay Wilson and there is a rough shape for how the book will be released by the publisher Fantagraphics. "I've been working on this Wilson biography retrospective for two years now and have finally completed it," Rosenkranz wrote to CR. "There will be three volumes of approximately 300 pages each, and volume one is on Fantagraphics' summer 2014 production schedule."

Like many of the prolific underground cartoonists, Wilson did a massive amount of work for publications that survive only in ways that the artists themselves, historians like Rosenkranz and perhaps some art collectors can pull from the clutches of oblivion. The publisher and the author submitted a few random samples which appear above and below.

"I thought I knew a lot about Wilson when I started this project but I didn't know the half of it," Rosenkranz told CR. "I interviewed his college mates, girlfriends, colleagues, drinking buddies, collectors, and publishers -- more than 60 people from all phases of his life. The biggest surprise was the sensitive 'hot house flower' hidden behind the bluster and bravado. This will be the definitive portrait of the boldest and baddest of the underground comic legends."

Wilson is a key figure in the underground comix generation specifically and in comics more generally for the matter-of-fact way in which he engaged severe content and this influence his work had on his peers. Wilson is also a highly pleasurable cartoonist to read, and terribly funny. He has in recent years, after a still-somewhat-mysterious physical health mishap, been in long-term recovery.

"S. Clay Wilson was one of the most original and provocative of the underground cartoonists, who may have been the most catalytic and liberating influence on other artists such as R. Crumb, Art Spiegelman, and Spain Rodriguez," Gary Groth told CR via a statement supplied to Comics Reporter by Fantagraphics. "His place in what may be the most influential movement in the history of comics is hugely important and these three volumes will be the most comprehensive collection of his work ever published."

I greatly look forward to these books.

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posted 1:50 am PST | Permalink
 

 
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