Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

February 15, 2007

Fantagraphics Announces Complete Pogo; Jeff Smith to Design Series


Hey, it's good, old-fashioned publishing news!

Rumored to be in the planning stages last summer, Fantagraphics has announced it will re-launch a Complete Pogo series with cartoonist Jeff Smith as series and book-by-book designer. Smith is known to be a great admirer of Pogo creator Walt Kelly.

The new books will be released on a roughly annual basis -- Fantagraphics' Eric Reynolds said the rate of release could conceivably speed up in future years if events warrant -- with each book holding approximately two years worth of material. Fantagraphics had previously published 11 soft-cover volumes covering five and a half years of the strip, material which will be subsumed into the new collections.

Pogo one of the most beloved newspaper comic strips of the 20th Century and a top ten all-time comic for many critics. It is certainly one of the two or three prettiest strips ever published.

This announcement is interesting for a few reasons: one, it adds to Fantagraphics' roster of high-profile strip projects; two, Pogo is one of the few strips I think could have been successfully published in that complete slip-cased format, which I would imagine is now off the table; three, the major push behind the strip should allow for the resources and access to be applied that circumvent one problem with post-War strips like Pogo: finding re-publishable originals from which to shoot the new copies, like syndicate copies, or really good newspaper copies. It's been my experience that sometimes with late 1940s and 1950s strips a lot of papers ran them occasionally shaved off at the end or on the bottom. And don't forget reason four, which isn't very interesting but worthy of a note: over the next several years we get to read Pogo in nice-looking volumes.

The first volume of the new series will appear October 2007.
posted 4:47 am PST | Permalink

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