Here's the official Fanta hype: THE LEGENDARY ANTI-WAR COMIC COLLECTED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ITS ENTIRETY. Written by Archie Goodwin and drawn by such luminaries as Frank Frazetta, Wally Wood, John Severin, Alex Toth, Al Williamson, Russ Heath, Reed Crandall, and Gene Colan, Blazing Combat was originally published by independent comics publisher James Warren in 1965 and ’66. Following in the tradition of Harvey Kurtzman’s Two-Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat, Goodwin’s stories reflected the human realities and personal costs of war rather than exploiting the clichés of the traditional men’s adventure genre. They were among the best comics stories about war ever published. Blazing Combat ended after its fourth issue when military post exchanges refused to sell the title due to their perception that it was an anti-war comic. Their hostility was fueled by the depiction of the then-current Vietnam War, especially a story entitled “Landscape,” which follows the thoughts of a simple Vietnamese peasant rice-farmer who pays the ultimate price simply for living where he does — and which was considered anti-war agitprop by the more hawkish members of the business community. Get a better idea of what's going on here with this generous 19-page PDF preview that contains three complete stories! Writer Archie Goodwin and the original publisher James Warren discuss the death of Blazing Combat and market censorship as well as the creative gestation of the series in exclusive interviews. 208 page hardcover ONE COPY IN STOCK (remainder mark across top page edge)
edited by John Benson and Greg Sadowski Just in time for Halloween, here's a trio of classic horror comics that provide a great window on the great thrill that comics once provided... and still can! First up we have Fantagraphics' Four Color Fear: 320 pages of fulsome full color comics, all scanned from the pre-code originals and printed on flat white paper (except for the cover reproductions, which are, appropriately, reproduced on bright white glossy stock to best mimic their original appearance). This is the horrific follow-up volume to last year's wild and woolly Supermen, that presented a revealing display of the earliest superhero comic books that showed the form before its tropes and conventions were still in flux, before they fully gelled (and later hardened). Aficionados take note: this is not one to miss – in fact, we sold out of our initial shipment almost immediately. Not to worry: new copies are on the way! So, while you wait for our restock, take a moment and read the editor's introduction and check out the table of contents; and then... feast your eyes on this tumultuous 26-page preview that contains four complete stories!
More Kirby! Under appreciated classics from the master. Ideas that Kirby explored in the sixties and - especially - the seventies are first explored here. Many stories reprinted here for the first time in decades - or ever! Kirby (and Simon – as well as a few other greats, including Wally Wood, Al Williamson and Reed Crandall) science fiction classics form the 1940s and, mostly, the 1950s in this Massive oversize hardcover tome.
Hold onto your hats! Here we are treated with an enormous (11" x 15") hardcover volume collecting the entirety of the rare and largely forgotten comic book series, Tops! Conceived by Charles Biro (of Crime Does Not Pay fame) and published by Lev Gleason in 1949 in an oversized magazine format, Tops, was a decidedly experimental project that aimed to bring comics to a wider – and older – audience. In fact, Biro and Gleason worked to escape the pejorative associations of the label "comics" by billing Tops as, "The Adult Magazine of Dramatic Picture Stories," and labeling the cover-feature of the first issue as a "novel-length illustory". And they backed up these claims by creating some relatively challenging, adventurous and adult(with a decided slant towards the male)-oriented comics – with titles like "I'll Buy That Girl," "You're on the Parole Board," "The Closet," "Marriage Swap Shop," "Summer Waitress," and "How You Would Live Under a World Government"(!) – scripted by Biro and a cohort of writers and drawn by first rate talents like Reed Crandall, Dan Barry, George Tuska, Bob Fujitani and Fred Kida, among others; these were interspersed with short stories and text pieces penned by non-comics writers (including one by Dashiell Hammett!).
Tops was destined to be a short-lived experiment, as it lasted only two 68-page issues. Likely due primarily to its uncategorizable nature, the fact that it was priced at a quarter at a time when practically all other comics were a dime, and the simple physical fact that it was too large to be racked with standard comics (or had to always be placed in the back row so as not to obscure all those behind it) and so was likely placed with the larger weeklies like Life, Look and Time, etc. This was probably part of the idea behind Biro and Gleason's brainstorm: to attract the (large and untapped by comics) readership of these mainstream magazines to comics. The failure of Tops to do so seems to confirm that comics readers are a breed apart.
Copies of these two issues of Tops have been notoriously difficult to get a hold of, due, again, in large part to their physcial size – as they can't easily be stored and/or displayed with other comics, and so tended to be stashed with Look and Life in where comics fans wouldn't think to look. Thus, their relative inaccesability led them to have been largely ignored by comics collectors and scholars... until now!
This compilation is edited by historian and cartoonist Michael T. Gilbert and includes the entirety of both issues along with an introduction by Gilbert, as well as several other essays providing background on the creation of the series and the publisher, editors, and cartoonists who realized it. As an added bonus, it also includes a chronicle in essay form of experimental, adult comics endeavors throughout the first half of the 20th century.
Get ready to dig into a missing chapter in comics history.