Upcoming Kirby – Romance collection from Fantagraphics

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Some discussion in the comments to the previous post about YOUNG ROMANCE: THE BEST OF SIMON & KIRBY’S 1940S-’50S ROMANCE COMICS, an upcoming book from Fantagraphics, including a link to some comments from editor Michel Gagné on the history of the project and some sample panels.

11 thoughts on “Upcoming Kirby – Romance collection from Fantagraphics

  1. patrick ford

    The material is in public domain so anyone is free to publish it. Fantagraphics pays royalties on reprints so the S&K estates will make something off the book.
    If you go look at Gagné’s comments at the link you’ll see he’s done 600 pages, and the book is a little over 200 pages, so it’s possible Fantagraphics might do two more reprint books.

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  2. Bob Post author

    Yeah, Titan have a romance book set for their S&K Library line, sometime after the imminent crime book. Also a horror book with stories from BLACK MAGIC. Kirby did something around 1800 pages of romance comics in that era, so I’m sure there’ll be minimal overlap, but if you had to pick just one I’d suggest holding out for the Titan book.

    Anyway, here’s a table of contents for the Gagné/Fantagraphics book.

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  3. John S.

    It’s surprising that Fantagraphics won’t be paying any royalties on the book. They’re usually VERY conscious of stuff like that. Let’s hope they see fit to rectify that situation by the time the book is released.

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  4. Bob Post author

    I’m not sure you could say that Fantagraphics really has a track record on that one way or the other, since it’s only recently that they’ve begun to do reprints of public domain material in a big way, with most of their books historically being fully creator-owned or strip reprints licensed from the syndication companies (some of those like Krazy Kat and Little Nemo might have been public domain, but most wouldn’t be, and I have no idea if the estates of Herriman or McCay got a cut of those particular examples).

    I know some of their current wave of PD reprints have been done with the co-operation (and presumably financial participation) of the artists in question or their heirs, but I’ve pretty much assumed that, for example, Steve Ditko doesn’t profit from the public domain reprints of his work that they do, given that his pre-publication public statement on their first book was that it was a “poison sandwich” (which turned out to be a pretty apt description). Of course, I don’t know if he was offered payment and turned it down or never offered payment at all, and for all I know he was offered payment and accepted. Unfortunately there’s no stamp publishers put on their books indicating that any of the exorbitant cover price goes to the people who actually wrote and drew the comics.

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  5. John S.

    Considering how hard Gary Groth has always thumped the tub for creators’ rights, one can only hope that he’s not hypocritical about it when it comes time for HIS company to pay some royalties.

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  6. Steve Janson

    Gary Groth and his partners in crime show their true colors. If Fantagraphics is going to screw S&K, I’ll never buy another Fantagraphics books.

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  7. patrick ford

    Harry would know because he was in regular contact with Joe Simon.
    I’ve made some inquiries and as it turns out Fantagraphics, Drawn and Quarterly, Yoe Books, IDW, and other publishers of public domain reprints don’t pay royalties.
    Steve Bissette recently commented:
    http://www.comicsreporter.com/index.php/cr_holiday_interview_11_steve_bissette/

    “Honestly, I don’t see much difference between the cottage economy based on handsome, high-priced reprints of past comics creations that pay nothing to the creators or their heirs — and in this I’m including everything from the Dark Horse Dell reprints to the PreCode horror reprints to the Kirby and Ditko reprint collections to the Archie reprints (and arguably no comics publisher with that company’s longevity has badly used and ill-treated more creators than Archie) to the Fantagraphics reprints to Munden’s Bar and First Comics reprints that pay nothing (having experienced that first-hand with the Munden’s Bar reprint)”

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  8. Harry Mendryk

    I failed to notice that further comments have been added to this post. To answer Diamonddulius, I had a number of conversations about Gagne’s book with Joe Simon before his death. I was pretty sure that he was not going to get anything for the book but to be certain I specifically asked him.

    Patrick, Thanks for the Bissette link. I find his reports of the reaction to his personal stand on Marvel interesting. I have had a similar experience. In the past I was quite open about my feelings about use of Simon and Kirby material without compensation. But I never asked for a boycott or even for others to agree with me. But nonetheless I had been badly pillored for my comments. So much so that I had decided to not to comment on Gagne’s book. The only reason I deviated from that policy was that Gagne kept using an incorrect statement supposedly from Joe Simon despite his saying in a private email to me that he would stop doing that. When I objected to that, and only that, on the Marvel Masterworks list I once again got pillored.

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