Fantagraphics Books and the Advent of the Graphic Novel



>> From the Library of
Congress in Washington DC. [ Silence ] >> Georgia: Thank you
everyone for your patience, and here is Gary Groth to speak about Fantagraphics
and the Graphic Novel. Thank you. [ Applause ] >> Gary Groth: Well thank
you very much for coming. As Georgia said, this
were celebrating — We happen to be celebrating
our 40thh anniversary this year which is a little terrifying. We have a celebratory tome
coming out around November. And we just sent it to the printer. It's a 700 page oral
history of the company with about 200/250 participants,
artists, writers, journalists, critics and various observers. One of the people who contributed
to the oral history mentioned in a letter accompanying
his interview that Fantagraphics has
traversed half the entire history of the comic book, of the American
comic book, which I probably knew, but didn't quite register,
and which kind of shocked me when it did register, because comic
books were started around 1933/1935 and Fantagraphics started in 1976. So, we have in fact been around
for half the entire history of comic books. What I want to do today is
to give you a history — They asked for a history
of Fantagraphics. I thought that might be a
little too self-serving, so I wanted to make it — Because
we've been around for the history of what essentially is the growth
of comics as mature art form and as the graphic novel, I
wanted to give you a history of Fantagraphics and the history
of comics in the last 40 years. I'm starting with my history
which was as a comic book fan. I was — I grew up here in
the Washington D.C. area. As a matter of fact, I grew up
in both Virginia and Maryland, both sides of D.C. And when I
was growing up in the 1960s, I was an obsessive
comic book reader. These are the kinds of
comics I read, mostly Marvel and DC Comics — read
them assiduously. And by the time I was
13-years-old in 1967, I started publishing a fan
magazine about comic books. And this is the cover to the
second issue of the Fanzine. As you can see, I stole the
logo from the Fantastic Four. I put this together in my bedroom. I would basically put sheets of
paper into a typewriter, type on it. It was full of articles. It was actually full. I actually had interviews
with cartoonists. Artists at the time
were from Marvel and DC, people like Sal Buscema
and John Buscema. I would send them questions in
the mail through Marvel and DC and then they would — they
would actually write back. I would actually send them
questions on pieces of paper and leave the room for answers, and they would dutifully
throw out the answers. This is when there were a lot
of comic books being published at that time, and there was
what was called Comics Fandom, which I was very much
a part of that age. And this was a loose
knit group of fans that lived all throughout
the country, and we would go to comic book conventions, which
was an incredibly exciting thing to do at the time. I'm sorry this isn't bigger. This is a photograph
of the banquet held in the 1969 New York
Art Comic Convention in New York City, Statler
Hilton Hotel. And this was a banquet
celebrating Hal Foster, the artist who did Prince Valiant. The arrow is pointing
toward Hal Foster. He was interviewed
by an artist named, Gil Cane who is sitting
right next to him. And this is a great snapshot of
the comic book industry in 1969. This room is filled with comic
book professionals, Al Williamson. If you know Al Williamson, he's
seated right there, John Buscema. I mean just many, many people that
work in the comic book industry and the comic strip industry at the
time were there, including a lot of fans who became professionals
later on and including me. I happened to be in the front row
because the table I was sitting at was off to the right
was out camera view, so they put the chairs in the front. Anyway, you know, something like
this was an incredibly exciting. That's a picture of me in my
office AKA the spare bedroom in my parent's house, hard at
work on one of my Fanzines. You can see — let me see, that's what's called a
typewriter in front of me. And to the left of me
is a tape recorder. I think that's a reel-to-reel
tape recorder, which is what I would
tape interviews on. This is when I was of
course a little bit older. I was probably about 16 or so, and
I would actually go to New York. When I went to New York, I
would bring this gigantic — now this gigantic, you
know, 15 pound tape recorder and tape interviews
with professionals. Eventually as I got
older, this is probably — I published these two magazines. The magazines got better. The Fanzines got better. I got a little bit
better at designing them. I got a little more
sophisticated in terms of design and editorial content. I went from Xeroxing them
in my father's office to actually having
them printed offset. And this would've been around 1972. Now somewhat simultaneously with
this, was a, what I consider to be the first comic's revolution, which was the Underground
Comix Movement and amateur magazines
published by professionals. This is a copy of Witzend,
which was a magazine published by Wallace Wood, who was a
professional at that time — started of EC Comics and
he was working for DC, Marvel and many other
publishers at this time. In 1965, he started publishing
a magazine called Witzend out of frustration at the
restricted editorial edicts of the companies he worked for. He hated doing what he was doing. He hated — he notoriously
hated editors. He hated being told what to do and
he hated the content of comics. So he started his own magazine which
he invited his fellow professionals in and which he edited himself. In 1964 and 1966, Frank Stack
started publishing The Adventures of Jesus and Jack Jackson
started publishing God Nose. These were the very, very
beginning of underground comics, which would flourish
a few years later. These two artists happened
to be from Texas. They would eventually
migrate to San Francisco. New York City was the epicenter
of underground comics in 1966. These are two images
by Robert Crumb, The East Village Other ran comics and would eventually
run a comic supplement, which the underground cartoonist
in New York would contribute to. There were a lot of underground
cartoonists located in New York at that time, Kim Deitch,
Spain Rodriguez, Trina Robbins and many others. Now underground comics I
think represented a liberation from everything that had
gone before in comic books. The content in comics were always
aimed at – targeted a children. Underground comics were the first
time in the history of comics when you had autonomous cartoonists
who wanted to tell stories, own their work, retain their rights
and consider themselves as artists and not as either craftsmen
or employees or people who were just doing
what they were told. These were people — these were
artists who were interested in self-expression,
comics as self-expression. And to me, I noticed
underground comics a little late because I was a little too young
to have experienced them early on. But — So I got into
underground comics when I was like leaving high school, 1972. I was probably 17 or 18. And they were a revelation to me. They were just unlike
anything I'd ever seen before. They were clearly anarchic. They were clearly artists doing
exactly what they wanted to do as opposed to following the dictum
of editors of publishing companies. So at 19, I went to college. I had a long and ultimately
failed college career. I was restless, and so my — I didn't quite know
what I wanted to do. I studied journalism at
the University of Maryland, and ostensibly, I did want
to become a journalist. But I guess I also had
— Well, first of all, I wasn't sure if I was actually
employable, and I resented working for other people and
I did have a kind of entrepreneurial sense about me. So my partner and I decided that we
wanted to start publishing company. My partner at the time, Mike Catron,
who was also studying journalism at the University of Maryland — So we decided that if we wanted to start a publishing
company, we needed money. And I had put on comic
book conventions in the Washington D.C. area,
so I knew how to do that. So the thing we thought we could do
is put on a Rock N Roll convention. This would generate
vast sums of money and we would start a
publishing company. So 1975, we started it in 1974. I would've been 19. And so we start with this
idea putting on the equivalent of a comic book convention, but
we thought since more people like Rock N Roll than like
comics, this was a sure bet. So, we actually rented the
Shoreham Americana Hotel, which I think is the
Americana Omni Hotel now. It's still here, which
was a gigantic hotel. And we started promoting this
convention throughout the Washington D.C. area. We literally worked 20 hours a day
for something like nine months. We got — we secured speakers for the convention
including Hunter Thompson. We got Rock bands to play. We had a room of memorabilia and
collectables just like they do at comic book conventions. We had Rock critics from Rolling
Stone attending the convention. Okay, I'm going to go back to this. The convention was a complete bomb. We put everything we had into it. I dropped out of college after
my third year of college. I was studying Journalism as I said. We both dropped out to do
nothing but work on this, and it looked like it was
going to be a success. I mean we had radio
stations promoting it. We really did an amazing job
and it's like nobody came. I mean people came, but
far too few people came, and we lost everything that we had. In fact, we lost more than we had. We made negative money. I spent the next year
gainfully employed, just paying people back
what they [inaudible]. But in the meantime, a friend
of mine offered to finance — because we were — I was
so interested in putting out — in actually publishing. I had a space in my
apartment that was set aside for pay stubs [phonetic],
layouts, typewriter. A friend of mine decided that
one way we could make use of the failed Rock N Roll Convention
was to use the mailing list and start a Rock N Roll Fanzine. We weren't interested in Rock N Roll
that much, but we were interested in publishing, so this
was a way of publishing. So we started publishing kind of
a collectable magazine called, Sounds Fine in Washington. So we actually had a setup where
we could put together a magazine. We used a local printer to print it. And this was 1975/1976,
and these were the kind of comics being published. Now in 1976, comics had
really hit some sort of nadir. You can go through
the history of comics and there's usually something
good being published. In the 1950s, you had EC Comics. You had John Stanley's Little Lulu. You had Carl Bark's Donald Duck. You had Harvey Kurtzman working. You had Bernie Krigstein
doing interesting work. Well this was a period where there
was almost nothing good being done in the mainstream comics. I mean it was just complete crap. And I didn't quite realize that at
the time, because I had really kind of stopped reading comics. But in 1976, I'm sorry — This
is — In 1974, there were — Underground comics were
still being published, but they were on their last legs. In 1974, a guy by the name of
Mike Friedrich started Star Reach, which was a kind of intermediate
magazine, which was somewhere between underground comics
and mainstream comics. He would get mainstream
comic artists to do exactly what
they want, which was by and large what they were doing
for mainstream comic except with some more sex and violence. In 1976, Harvey Pekar started
publishing American Splendor inspired by the undergrounds. 1978, the first two regularly
published independent comics were started by Richard and
Wendy Pini with Elfquest and Dave Sim with Cerebus. 1978, a publisher by the name of Eclipse started
publishing graphic novels. Their technique at the time was to
take artists from mainstream comics and offer them a better
contract, creative freedom and let them do exactly
what they wanted. These are two examples. One was a detective
story and one was a kind of post-apocalyptic action thriller. And in 1976, Mike Catron
and I took over some — a collector's magazine
called, The Nostalgia Journal. This was — this had been
published for 26 issues. They were struggling to make it. They were being in Texas. We decided that we could inject
new life into the magazine, change the direction of the
magazine from nostalgia in general, which was about movies and serials
and music and so forth from the 40s and 50s and change the
focus into comic books, which is what we knew
about, which we cared about. Now, I have a copy of Arcade
which was a magazine edited by Art Spiegelman and Bill Griffith. And I considered this
to be something like the last gasp
of Underground Comix. Underground Comix still
continued to be published, but this was the last
issue of Arcade. Less than six issues, it was
an ambitious magazine edited by Spiegelman and Griffith, published by Print
Mint in the Bay Area. And they were striving to
get newsstand distribution, because the head shot network that sustained Underground
Comix were collapsing. This was an experiment that failed, although it was an
excellent magazine to try — both transcend underground
and embody underground. And we published the first issue
our Nostalgia Journal literally within a month of the
last issue of Arcade. One of the intents of
the magazine is we wanted to finally impose critical
standards and journalistic standards on the content of comics and
on the comic book industry. I was in high dudgeon about this
because I realized at that point that the history of comic
books was the history of exploiting creative talent. Almost all of comics were
done on a work-for-hire basis, which means that the company owned
all of the work that the artist did. The artist got a pay-to-page
rate, owned nothing, never had a pension and — — and it struck me that
if we were going to — if the medium was going to advance
that we had to use the model from the Underground Comix, which is
that the creator owns his own work, generates his own work and is the
autonomous creator of that work. And that's what we started to do. This is an example — We
interviewed Will Eisner who created The Spirit
in 1940 I think. And so what we do is we started
turning our pages over to artists who we admired and respected and who we thought were doing
the best work in comics. At the time, we started
giving them a voice. And this is a good example of
the kind of feature we would run. You can see where Will Eisner said, "I believe that sequential art is
the oldest communicating art form. It has served humanity
since early man because it has the ability
to transmit a story. I would like to be joined by
other artists in an effort to produce literature
and comic art." For us at this time, it was
probably around 1977/78, this sort of thing is
like a rallying cry. You know the history of Fanzines
were the kind of Fanzines that I published, which were
just gosh, wow, Fanzines. We were just, you know, we just loved everything
coming out of comic books. We worshipped the artists
who did them. And so for the first time, we had
a sustained magazine whose intent and mission was to try to propel
comics into a greater sphere of art. And something like this
for example was inspiring. We would interview artists who we
thought were mavericks in form, who pushed against the
editorial strictures of comics, people like Wally Wood,
artists Gil Kane. Gil Kane was one of the
most eloquent critics, not only of the medium but
of the industry he worked in. We give artists a voice who were
having disputes with the companies which was the first
time that ever happened. And we were vociferous about this. We would — we were criticizing
the main company's Marvel and DC month in and month out. An issue did not go by when we did
not run a pretty brutal critique of what was going on, the
status quo of the business. We would review the work itself,
which could be incredibly harsh. When someone like Steve
Gerber or someone like Frank Brunner had a
dispute with a company, we would give them
opportunity to talk about it. There was — Previously in the comic
book industry, there was this code of silence where people — I mean people just simply
didn't talk about it. Artists who had been in the industry
for a long time were very reticent. The new generation —
The only artist who broke that mold was Gil Kane, but the new
generation of artists were willing to talk about what they considered to be the degradations
of the comics industry. So we would simultaneously run
journalism such as a report on an attempt to start a Comics
Guild, which was a meeting in Neil Adams' studio in
19 — I think it was 1978. And virtually every comic book
artist working in the field was in that room was a gigantic
studio, and it must have had 50 or 60 artists in it, everybody
from editors to artists like Steve Ditko, attended
this meeting. Neil Adams organized it. And of course — You know
previously, there has never been that level of an attempt to
actually start a union or a guild. So that was in the atmosphere. We would for example — I would debate Frank Miller to
whether Batman was fascistic. I mean, these were
important of the day. We would interview what we
thought were progressive cartoons like Art Spiegelman who was editing
Raw along with Francoise Mouly. So were trying to interview
the best artist we could find at that time while simultaneously
attacking the status quo. This was a little later,
but one of the — One of the campaigns I'm most proud
of is when Marvel Comics refused to return Jack Kirby's art. This is a prime example of
what we were doing at the time. Marvel started returning
art work to creators, which they had held up until then. But they refused to return Jack
Kirby's art unless he signed a very long extensive retroactive
work-for-hire contract, which he refused to sign. And so we literally started a
campaign to force marvel to — to embarrass Marvel
into returning his art. We collected signatures
from professionals. We sent out petitions to
comic book retail stores. We ran many, many news
stories about it. We interviewed people about it. We interviewed Jack about it. Ultimately, he got his art back. He was — he ultimately was willing
to sign a short one page form. Now the magazine, it's
hard to describe because the times have changed
so much, but the magazine was so divisive that the industry was
really polarized between those in the industry who loved the
magazine, loved what we were doing, enjoyed our mission
statement and those who absolutely despised the magazine
and wished it would go away. And those were essentially the
companies themselves and a lot of people that worked
for the companies. So, in 1979, we ran an interview
with science-fiction author by the name of Harlan Ellison. And based upon this quote, the
comic book writer he was talking about sued us for two
million dollars. Now this was 70 —
We ran the interview in 1979 and he sued us in 1980. I think 19 — Later that year, I
ran an editorial where I talked about publisher to
publisher competing magazine with a comic strip and we sold it. And I accused him of a career
of hustling as a monument to selfish opportunism and
spiritual squalor wealth. Shortly after that appeared, he also
sued me for two million dollars. And then not long after that,
unbowed, we published along review of a comic then an artist by
the name of Rich Buckler did for Archie comics, where he
basically plagiarized Jack Kirby panel for panel. So we ran a big two-page
spread with a 48-page — 48 point headline announcing
he plagiarized Jack Kirby. And he also sued us for almost
a half a million dollars. So in 1981 — by 1981, we were
fighting three law suits for a total of about four and a
half million dollars. And we didn't have a pot to piss in. I mean, we were operating
out of a large house. There were probably about five
or six of us working there. We worked there and we lived there. We were all in our twenties. I was probably about 26. And I knew nothing about lawyers. I knew nothing about lawsuits. I had never been sued. They might think this would
be terrifying and it was, but it was also exhilarating because
it meant we were having an effect. It meant that we were having
an impact on this industry, that we were making waves, that
people were paying attention to us. This was so incredibly divisive in
the industry that it's hard to — it's hard to describe — There
was actually a comic convention, the same convention
I went to in 1969. And this occurred around 1982 or
1983, where I was at the convention. I caught wind that Michael
Fleischer who was suing us for two million actually
secured a room at the convention in the convention hall to get
artists on his side to do sketches so that he could sell the sketches
and contribute all that money to his lawyer to help sue us. So when I discovered
that, I flipped out, and asked the convention organizer,
Phil Seuling if I could get space to have artists of my
own to do sketches. I mean, I just felt we needed to
have some sort of parody there. So he reluctantly agreed. And that night, I called around, and the artists I got were
Art Spiegelman, Burne Hogarth, Mike Coluda [Assumed
Spelling] and Gil Kane. And so we sat the smallish
rooms, smaller than this room — maybe about half the
size of this room. We were on one side and
they were on the other side. And I wasn't too interested
in raising money. I just wanted to be
there as a presence. And we stayed there for a few hours until the convention
organized walked in there. And it was just horrible. I mean people walked in
the room and it was just like this horrible poisonous
atmosphere forum, you know, just two sides glowering
at each other. And the organizer finally came in
and he said, "You all have to leave. You're ruining my convention." It's like — it's like this space
was just so poisonous and horrible that — which I was happy to do. So we all — we all filtered out. But that's how divisive it
was within the industry. I mean, you know, the people that
were suing us had their supporters. They were being egged on. They said, you know, you got to
put these guys out of business. The Fleischer lawsuit
took seven years and 200 hundred thousand
dollars to win and we did finally win it in 1987. And we were so happy. We were so celebratory that
we won that we featured it in an issue of the magazine. This was the cover of the magazine. That is a drawing —
a drawing Don Simpson. The main character is Jim Shooter
who was the editor and chief of Marvel Comics, who was in
fact organizing artists to work against — you know, to do things
against us like that signing. He testified against
us during the trial. And in the issue, we actually
published transcripts of depositions and — trial depositions and
transcripts of the witness stand. The other two lawsuits
by the way we also won, although they were much easier. Now in 19 — So we were
publishing this magazine. It's a very, very contentious
magazine about comics. We were on the one hand championing
work that we thought was good, but there was so little work being
done and in the 70s and early 80s, it was hard to find work. There were a handful of
underground comics being published. There was Harvey Pekar,
but very little. So 1981, we fell into
publishing comic books. This was the first
comic we published. It's a graphic novel by Jack Jackson
called, "Los Tejanos," the history of the Mexican-American War. I got to know Jack, as I
got to know so many artists by interviewing them
in the Comics Journal. Our Underground Comic's columnist — We actually had an underground
column in the magazine which we ran every issue, and there
was approximately one underground comic coming out per month
at least so we could write about underground comics. He interviewed Jack. I got to know him, and he just
asked me if I'd be interested in publishing this graphic
novel he was working on. And we had the distribution
infrastructure. We were being distributed
to comic book stores. The Comics Journal
is being distributed to comic book stores,
and I thought, Why Not? We can just add this to our
— to our infrastructure. We can just put it in the pipeline. So 1981, we published a
graphic novel, Los Tejanos. And in 1982, we published what I
consider our flagship magazine, "Love and Rockets,"
the Hernandez brothers. Again, we were publishing a,
you know a critical magazine, a magazine that would review comics, so the Hernandez brothers
self-published their own Love and Rockets. They went to whatever the equivalent
of a Kinkos was at the time. They published a 32-issue
comic called, Love and Rockets and they sent it to the
Comics Journal for review. And I opened the envelope
and I read it. And I was so astonished
at how good it was. It was just such a
breath of fresh air. It was different from
Underground Comix. It was unlike anything I'd
ever seen in comics before. It had a naturalistic
interpretation of life. It had sex but it wasn't about sex. So I wrote a glowing review
of it for the Comics Journal. And I think it was some time after
I wrote the review, and Gilbert and Jaime would contribute spot
illustrations of the magazine. So I was somewhat aware of them. I don't know if I really
corresponded with them or not, but at some point I
got a hold of them. And it was just a spur of the
moment thought, but I asked them if they'd be interested in us publishing this
as a regular magazine. They seemed young. They seemed like they could,
you know, turn out work. They were excited and
enthusiastic and they said, yes. So we started publishing
Love and Rockets in 1982. It was my idea to actually make
it a 64-page magazine size comic, and the reason for that is
because I wanted to distinguish it from the regular pamphlet-sized
comic books that were being published
at the time. I wanted people to know
that this was different. Hence 64 pages which was a
lot thicker, a lot meatier and the magazine size which back
then denoted something I hoped different and more serious. So we published Love
and Rockets quarterly. With the fifth issue, we turned
it into a 32-page magazine, which we thought was more
prudent in terms of market. And in the early 80s when we were
— we were living in Connecticut. We moved from Maryland to
Connecticut because we needed to get closer to New York
which was the epicenter of comic book culture at the time. All the comic publishers
were publishing in New York. And if you were publishing
a magazine [inaudible], we needed to be around them,
so we moved to Connecticut. So while we were in Connecticut, we
started publishing Love and Rockets and we started publishing
other, you know, other books and other magazines. Our philosophy was that good
cartooning is good cartooning. We did really care if
it was contemporary. We wanted preserve great
cartooning from the past, so we started publishing collections
of Popeye and Prince Valiant. We started publishing a magazine
in 1981 by the name of Nemo, which was a magazine devoted to
the history and newspaper strips and illustrations and gag cartoons. A historian by the name of
Richard Marshall edited it for us. He lived a few miles away
from us in Connecticut. So it was a real easy collaboration. He would basically put
the magazine together. He would drive down and we would
pull a couple of all-nighters and put the whole magazine
together in our basement. And this is the house we
worked out of in Connecticut. It was a gigantic six bedroom house. One way we survived is
by keeping overhead low. And one way to keep overhead low is
to live in the place you work in. And so that's what we did. The entire basement of
the house was the office. We started encroaching
upon the second floor. We all lived there. We all worked there, and we lived
in this place for six years. This was located in
Stamford, Connecticut, which is a bedroom
community of Manhattan, and where we clearly did not belong, because this was an
incredibly ritzy neighborhood. We were surrounded by doctors and
lawyers and TV network executives. And the only reason I think
they rented it to us is because the owner never
actually met us. The owner lived in Puerto Rico, and I guess this was
just a house he owned. And our neighbors, you know, it
had a very, very long driveway, which we shared with
the other house. And I think our neighbors never
understood what we were all doing there. And the back of the house
has board on the floor, so it was very isolated
which is what we needed. From my Connecticut
move to Los Angeles, that's where we started
publishing yet more comics. We started publishing Peter
Bagge's Neat Stuff in 1985. We started published Jim
Woodring's Jim magazine I think in 1987 and Dan Clowes in 1986. Pete Bagge visited us in Connecticut
and brought his portfolio over, and originally wanted it
edited and [inaudible] that he wanted it edited. And I suggested, no, why don't we
just do a solo magazine of your own? These are all — By the way,
Bunista Van Jimer [phonetic] size because we were still trying
to push the magazine agenda. We were trying to push the
distinction between comics, you know, and what we did. I met Jim. Gil Kane introduced me to Jim. They were both working
in Animation at the time. And Jim showed me these amazing auto
journals that he self-published. And of course, you know, the
first thing I thought is, we should publish this. It's its own magazine and you can
put together a magazine that was, you know, would be
widely distributed. And Dan Clowes just out of the
blue sent us a proposal called, "Lloyd Llewellyn." Dan was living in Chicago at the
time, and I thought it was so good that I offered to publish it,
and we debuted it as a supplement in an issue of Love and Rockets which by then had achieved
some degree of success. In the 1980s, we continued
publishing — You know, I wanted to
expand what we were doing. I wanted to branch out
from newspaper strips and from comic books into
other forms of cartooning and these are two good examples. These are both represent that
we published around 1988, Ralph Steadman's, America and Jules
Feiffer graphic novel, Tantrum. It was 1987 when we started
publishing Robert Crumb, who had by then even by
then become a legendary peer in underground comics. I met Crumb when I called him up to
ask him to do a cover for an issue of the Comics Journal with
our Harvey Pekar interview. And Harvey Kurtzman told me
that Crumb was very skittish and that I should mention
his name when I called, otherwise he might hang up on me. And so I did, called him up, and kind of battered my
way through his defenses. And he opened up a little. He did the cover for
Harvey Pekar's issue. And then I did a long
interview with Crumb himself. I drove up to Summers — I'm
sorry to Winters, California, and hung out with him for a while. And it was during one of those
trips in winter in his studio when I broached the subject of
doing the complete Crumb comics. And I pitched it that we could — we would publish everything he
ever did from 1964 to present. And he was sort of
wary of that idea, but I finally talked him into it. I talked him into sending
me tons of his sketch books, a lot of his original art, and into
doing new covers for the books. We started publishing
underground comics. These were in the late 80s as well,
Skip Williamson, Scum Also Rises and Howard Cruse collection. Now what was happening in
the 1980s is, you know, there's mainstream comics which
were really pretty miserable. But 1981, Weirdo and Raw
started being published. Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly
started publishing in New York and Robert Crumb edited
Weirdo on the west coast and Last Gasp published it. So you got these two really
vital magazines starting. Kitchen Sink was still
functioning out of Wisconsin. Now Kitchen was sort of the in the
middle of underground publishers. He didn't publish work
quite as harsh as Print Mint and Last Gasp and Rip Off. But he was publishing underground
works, as well as reprinting work like the spirit by Will Eisner. New publishers were
starting to come up. New competitors to Marvel and DC
knew basically midlevel publishers who wanted to compete with
Marvel and DC on their terms. On the left, you have Zot. The right is Miracle
Man by Alan Moore. These were published by Eclipse. We had a publisher by the name
of First Comics out of Chicago and this was also in the 80s
when comics became decentralized. Comics started moving away from New
York and you could publish anywhere. First Comics wanted to compete
directly with Marvel and DC with either superhero or
quasi-superhero comics. 1989, Drawn and Quarterly started and left is Chester
Brown's Yummy Fur; right, Julie Doucet's Dirty Plotte. And then in 1997, I'm
skipping ahead a little bit, but the next major publisher
was top shelf in 19 — I think 97, they started publishing. Give me time to read
that for a second. So in the 1980s, we sort
of established ourselves as an alternative publisher. The magazine was monumentally
contentious through the 1980s and continuing into the 1990s. What happened in the late 1980s
is Mutant Ninja Turtles — Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles were
published around 1987 or 1988. Kevin Eastman and Peter
Laird published these — self-published these. They were black and white comics. They became the first enormously
successful comic self-published by anybody, made Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman millionaires
virtually overnight. And that's — and what that started
was what was called the Black and White Boom. Suddenly black and
white comics were hot, because the Ninja Turtles sold well. Everyone wanted to publish
either black and white comics or some rip-off of the Ninja
Turtles of which the comic on the right is a prime example. And believe it or not, crap
like this would sell, like, you publish the Blackbelt Hamsters
and it would sell 40/50,000 copies. So there were a lot of
these imitators out there. Now Kevin Eastman imprudently —
and Kevin is a very sweet guy. He's a very idealistic guy, but
he took his millions and he wanted to start a publishing company. Peter Laird actually started a
foundation, The Xeric Foundation, where he would finance
self-publishers to publish their own comics. Kevin wanted to start his
own publishing company and I remember talking
to him one day. It was probably 1990 or
so, and he said, "Yeah, I'm going to start
a publishing company and I was really inspired
by Fantagraphics. I want to do, you know, the
kind of comics you're doing." And I thought, Jesus,
you know, like, this the guy that is a millionaire
who wants to publish the kind of comics I want to publish. So in 1991, Kevin started
Tundra Publishing. And these are two examples
of comics he published. He published for a couple of years. And in I think it was 1993
or 94, he ran out of money. He literally spent 14
million dollars in two and half years of comic publishing. It was — It's one of
the most amazing stories in the history of publishing. It was just a money trough. And so I did a long interview
with him after Tundra expired. What happened is Tundra
actually melded with Kitchen Sink in I think 1994. Kitchen more or less
took over Tundra, and then Kitchen actually
expired I think in 1997. Tundra sunk Kitchen as well. So I did a long interview
with Kevin a couple of years after Tundra went under, and
this is a like, you know, an example of how the
interview went. I mean, it's a — it's
one of the funniest and most astonishing interviews
I ever did, because we went through the whole Tundra
experience and how he could go through 14 million dollars
in two and a half years by publishing alternative comics, which I kind of knew theoretically
was possible, but didn't know — So these are the kind that we published interviews
like this in the 90s. We were still publishing very
contentious interviews in the 90. Another huge factor in the 90s
was the beginning of Image Comics, which was a so-called rebellion
from Marvel Comic artists, who fled Marvel, started
their own publishing company and essentially did
work that was even worse than their comics at marvel. So I always consider that
kind of a bogus revolution. Todd McFarlane was the artist
who drew Spiderman who was sort of the ringleader for the group
seven who started Image Comics. And I did an interview with him where I basically hammered
home my point that this was not a genuine
revolution in the history of comics but more of a, you
know, opportunistic way to exploit their success. And marvel and — produced
comics are even worse than what they were doing there. We continue to publish
and the kind of cartoonist that we liked, admired
and respected. These are comics that we
published in the 1990s. We started publishing — we
started collecting comics. Previous comics we
published in serial form. We started using a technique of
publishing then collecting them into graphic albums, which
were eventually going to be called graphic novels. So for example, we collected Love
and Rockets into a series of books. This is the first volume called, Music For Mechanics
published around 1990. Ghost World was serialized
in Dan Clowes' EightBall. We eventually collected
that into a graphic novel. We continued publishing artists like Peter Cooper,
Terry LaBan and Roger — — or it's like Roberta
Gregory, Renee French, and Chris Ware and Joe Sacco. Now Palestine is a kind
of a great success story. When Joe approached us, and
Joe correct me if I'm wrong. In the early 90s, we
published a couple of things that Joe did in the late 80s. Joe actually started
working for us as a reporter for the Comic's Journal in
Los Angeles around 1987. >> Joe Sacco: Six, seven. >> Gary Groth: And Joe
wanted to be a cartoonist. So we — we did indeed
publish a couple of comics that he did in the 80s. In the early 90s, he approached us about doing a comic called
Palestine, or was that the late 80s? I'm sorry. >> Joe Sacco: Early 90s. >> Gary Groth: Yeah. And he wanted to go over to Israel. He wanted to go over and do
some journalism on the ground and come back and do a chronicle
of what was going on in Palestine. We naturally thought
that was a great idea. So we started publishing Palestine
as a comic book, and at that time, we only had distribution
in comic book stores, which were completely
indifferent to such comics. We were probably lucky to sell
2,000 — 2,500 comics Palestine. And Joe continued to do it. We continued to publish. Joe made no money doing it, because cartoonists do not make any
money selling 2,000 or 3,000 copies of a comic book —
credibly labor intensive. And I think we published 11
issues, something like that. >> Joe Sacco: Nine. >> Gary Groth: Nine issues. I knew it was an odd number. So we published nine issues
of Palestine over the course of about five years or
something like that to complete and absolute indifference. We tried to do our best to promote
— You promoted the hell out of it. We explained to people this
was a new kind of comic. This was graphic journalism. Comic book stores and the patrons of comic book stores
couldn't care less. It was only later when, you know, such a thing as graphic comic
novels became known and we were able to publish it, you know, in a
book when Palestine became one of our bestselling books. But back in the 90s, nobody
could do anything about it. Nobody cared about it. Everybody thought it was peculiar
that we would publish a book about, you know, journalistic comic book. In the 2000s, were going
through one of our many, many periodic financial
crises which has, you know, bedeviled the company for ages. And in 1997, I finally got around
to interviewing Charles Schultz for the Comics Journal. I decided, you know, it was time. I met Charles Schultz in 19 I
think — or 1987, where I — I was a junior partner
when in interview with him. So I visited him in his studio,
but I'm sure I didn't make that much of an impression on him. So 1997, I called his office
and I asked him if he would sit down for an interview
and he said, yes. I did an enormous of preparation
and flew down to Santa Rosa and spent a marvelous
day with Charles Schultz. And we had a great time. We did an interview in his studio. Then we walked over to his ice rink
where we hung out for another couple of hours and just chatted. And at that time, just casually,
and I think spontaneously, I approached the subject of
collecting all the peanuts and I'm not even sure I remember if
I wanted to do, but I just mentioned to him that I thought
it would be a great idea if Peanuts were collected
systematically. Because the collections
that I had read to research the interview
were just all over the place. They were scattered
all over the place. They were poorly edited as a design. And I said, you know, it'd be great to have systematic collection
all uniformly designed of all of your work, all of Peanuts. And he said, "Well, I don't think
anybody'd be interested in that." And said, "No, no. People would be interested in that." And then later on, I spoke to him
on the phone, and I brought it up again, and finally
gave me his blessing. He said, "Go ahead and
you know, try for it." It was a few years later when
I actually managed to do this. He unexpectedly died in 2000. Not too long after that, I spoke
to his widow, Jeanie and told her that I had broached the
subject with Sparky, and that he was in favor of it. And she was very much
in favor of it. She was very enthusiastic
about the idea. So in 2004, we came out
with the first volume of the complete Peanuts. And this was our most
successful book to date. It came a great time because we
were going through another one of our financial crises because
we did not have 14 million dollars to blow through. And publishing Peanuts
really, you know, was one of the many times
we were saved by coming up with something like this. And we've been publishing
Peanuts over the last ten years. We're publishing the last
— I'm sorry, last 12 years. We were publishing the
last volume this month. No, sorry, next month,
the 26th volume. We started publishing the
Sunday's in full color because Sunday's appeared in black
and white regular complete Peanuts. And now what I want to — I
just served our greatest hits, but I wanted to give
you a sense of the scope of what we publish currently
and what we've been publishing for the last decade and to give you
a sense of how broad we view the art of cartooning and what we're
doing to preserve the history of cartooning and to publish
contemporary graphic novels. So I break this down
into categories. One thing we do is publish
newspaper strips like Crazy Kat, Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey
Mouse, Walt Kelly's Pogo, Crockett Johnson's Barnaby. And as I mentioned, we started
publishing newspaper strips, and, like, as early as 1981 with the
same philosophical disposition, which is that we were
just interested in what represented good cartooning. Both of these we published in
the 1980s when we went back and decided to do it right. The printing quality
is so much better. We're publishing the
Popeye strips in full color which we couldn't afford
to do in the 1980s. We're publishing the best of what
we can find from comic books. And we're reprinting all of the EC
Comics from the 1950s, Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck by Carl Barks,
collections of work by artists like Bernie Krigstein, Alex Toth. These would be from 1950s, a huge
coffee table book collecting all of Will Elder's best work. Bill Mauldin is a great example of
a cartoonist who is not, you know, a newspaper strip artist,
not a comic book artist, not a narrative artist per
se, but a great cartoonist. His Willie and Joe cartoons from World War Two have
never been collected before. We decided to collect them in
a big two volume slip case set. Gahan Wilson, another cartoonist who I didn't think had
properly recognized. We published a three-volume
set over a thousand pages long, collecting all the work he did
from Playboy from 1956 to present, collections work by artists like
Jules Feiffer, David Levine. This is a recent collection
publishing all of the great English
cartoonists, Ronald Searles work from the work he did in
America from 1956 to 1965. He was over here on assignment for
magazines throughout that period, working for magazines
like Pageant and Esquire and basically observing
America during that period. And this collects all the work
he did during that period. And, you know, resurrecting work
that many people either don't know or have completely forgotten
like Charles Rodrigues' work from the National Lampoon, which
is some of the most save work. I mean, it's every bit as
harsh as S. Clay Wilson or underground work was being
published in the New Yorker at the time, and you know,
continuing to publish Dan Wilson. Humbug was a magazine,
a pioneering magazine in the 19 — started in 1956. It was a consortium of artists. It was the first magazine
that was started and owned by a group of artists. It was Harvey Kurtzman,
Al Jaffe, Arnold Roth, Jack Davis and Will Elder. They had just gotten
out of Mad magazine. They had just gotten out of
Trump which was an ill-fated work that Harvey Kurtzman
did for Hugh Heffner. And they decided to start
their own satirical magazine. It ran for two years
and of course it bombed. They lost all of their money. But they did some of the best work
of their lives in this magazine. And then the previously
mentioned Witzend, we decided that this was another
magazine that the creator owned and creator-operated magazine
that ought to be collected. And coming up next month is
a huge collection of cartoons from Paul Krasner's
legendary Realist magazine with a new cover by Jay Lynch. We made a big effort to collect,
you know, what I consider to be one of the most important
movements in the history of comics, the Underground Comics. So we started publishing work like
Robert Crumb, Spain Rodrigues, Jack Jackson, Robert
Williams, Victor Moscoso. We tried to pick what we consider to be the most important underground
cartoonist and to create collections by them, Vaughn Bode,
Rory Hayes, Kim Deitch, S. Clay Wilson, Frank Stack. And last year, we published
the complete Zap Comix, which was every single issue
of Zap published from 1967 in five-volume slipcase edition,
which we had to follow-up by with the complete
Wimmens's comics. And in addition to
publishing comics, because we publish
a critical magazine. We were interested in,
you know, criticism and biographical information,
essays about comics. We published text books about
comics such as biographies of Milton Caniff, Harvey
Kurtzman and Bernard Krigstein, The Letters of R. Crumb, Rebel
Visions, which was the history of underground comix, Cartoons
for Victory which was a history of home front cartoons during
World War Two and Wallace, The Life and Legend of Wallace Wood. This was a collection of
essays and reminiscences and interviews with Wally Wood. And then one thing we did, ongoing from the 1980s
is published translations from the best comics
throughout the world. So we published —
[inaudible] by Manuel Fior. We're publishing the
complete Crepax by — It's Guido Crepax's entire ovra
[phonetic], the Italian cartoonist. We published Japanese Manga. This is Moto Hagio's work. And Eternaut is a work started in
1956 which is legendary work done in Argentina, which went on to
become kind of cultural touchstone, because it was a metaphor
for the political turmoil. It's a science-fiction story,
but turned into a metaphor for the political turmoil
that was occurring in Argentina then and
during the 1970s. And then I just wanted to give you
a brief rundown of the cartoonists that we're publishing today. You know, one of the most
exciting things about continuing to publish work is
discover new cartoonist. This is a work by Emil Ferris,
who's coming out next month. My Favorite Thing Is Monsters — it's actually a 650-page
graphic novel. It's being split into two. First volume comes out next month. Next volume will come
out the following month. This is work by Simon
Hanselmann, Australian cartoonist, now living in the states. Published work is varied. It's Weathercraft by Jim Woodring
and a brand new graphic novel by R.O. Blechman who's been
working since about 1945. Joe Sacco's, Palestine which we've
kept in print since about 1995 and Invisible Ink, Bill Griffith's
autobiographical memoir, Laid Waste, a graphic novel by Julia
Gfrorer and The Squirrel Mother, a collection of short stories
by Megan Kelso, Temperance, graphic novel by Cathy
Malkasean, Soldier's Heart, which is Carol Tyler's latest
long autobiographical memoir. And coming full circle, the Comics
Journal, because of the depth of the print medium, we turned
the Comics Journal into a kind of a bi-annual 650-page magazine. And this is the latest volume
of that, where I got — I had the privilege of
interviewing Maury Sendak. The next volume will be
coming out next year, which I hope will feature a
long interview with Tommy Unger. And then I wanted to mention at the
end when I refer to "we" and "us," I wanted to mention my partner,
Kim Thompson who died in 2013. Kim came onboard a couple of years after I co-founded
the Comics Journal. And so, he was my partner
for like 35 or 36 years, and an important part
of the company. He worked on the Comics
Journal initially. He edited his own magazines. He introduced translated books
to the company in the 1980s. He continued translating books. He knew several languages, so
he could do all the translation. He chose them. He grew up in Europe. You know, he edited
a lot of his books. And between the two of us,
Fantagraphics was a much more, a much stronger company editorially than it would've been
with either one of us. And then because we started
off as such a, you know, an advocacy magazine,
a contentious magazine, this is the kind of
thing I, you know. And now that we have become
somewhat grudgingly, you know, an establishment publisher,
this is the kind of thing I stay up
late and worry about. So thank you very much. [ Applause ] I don't know what I'm
supposed to do now. >> Georgia: We have time
for a couple of questions. >> Gary Groth: Are there
a couple of questions? >> I was looking forward to a — seeing reference to a New
York issue of [inaudible]. Is that still [inaudible]? >> Gary Groth: Probably not. I mean I don't remember that. >> It was advertised [inaudible] one of your catalogues
years ago after — >> Gary Groth: Right, right, right. You know, we're big
dreams at Fantagraphics because it's probably one of the
many projects that we had in mind that probably just
didn't come to fruition. Although, you know, it's possible
we can do that in the future though. Question over here? >> Could you [inaudible] you have
sort of a shortness if comics that are good [inaudible]
like a nuts and bold composition
perspective like the [inaudible] if you're really interested in
getting to like the structure and like the story telling aspect. >> Gary Groth: Well, I mean most
of our — I mean, I don't know. I mean, any good cartoonist is
probably going to embody, you know, a fundamentally adroit approach
in terms of the nuts and bolts. I mean, you know, all
the cartoonists here, I would probably recommend, I
mean, Charles Burnes, Jim Woodring, Joe Sacco, you know, Roger Langrick. I mean, you know, I mean, all
these cartoonists and they may have to be handy, you know,
would be, you know, I mean, know the craft so well. And I think most artists
[inaudible] Foster for example. I mean, you know, for
nuts and bolts, you probably can't get any better
than him, but there's so many — so many superlative artists. And I think probably virtually every
great cartoonist knows those nuts and bolts and learns that. And that's one of the
reasons that he or she can become a
great cartoonist. So, I mean, I know that's a vague
and probably useless answer. >> Do you see on the
horizon any sort of relating to the quote another
trend, another revolution in comics that are [inaudible]? >> Gary Groth: I, you
know, I don't know. I think, you know, I think
about that, because, you know, if there is one, I'd like
to, you know, be part of it. I mean right now, I just, I
see, you know, I mean, you know, there's just new generations
that keep coming up faster than I can keep track of them. And, I mean, I remember, you
know, Gilbert and Jaime and Dan. I mean, we were all in our 20s. So we were the new generation. And so — but that really
represented a shift, and I don't see that kind of seismic
shift happening. I mean, you see over
the last ten years where small press conventions
have, you know, have come up and they're flourishing, you know,
conventions like SPX, and, you know, they're filled with artists, you
know, and some are good and a lot of them are not good, and, you
know, some of them are going to last and some of them are just,
you know, going to fade away. But I mostly see this discontinuing. And I just see, you know — you know, powerhouse artists
just suddenly emerging. And it's a continual effort to
separate the wheat from the chaff, you know, trying to find, you know,
the best people doing the work. So I don't see any kind of
seismic shift like that happening. I mean, I can't — I can't
foresee what that would be. We've reached some sort of
critical mass I think in terms of the actual quality of the work. So I just see more good work
coming up, being inspired by all of the work that has
gone in the past. And I think we're in this kind of
Renaissance of cartooning, where, you know, I mean, we
have several generations of great cartoonists
working, I mean, you know with new cartoonists coming
out, so we hardly have, like — We probably have in terms of
sheer mass, the most number of great cartoonists
working today than ever. >> Could you tell us briefly about
the sidelining erotic comics that — >> Gary Groth: Yeah, I actually
— I originally had a chapter, but I figured it was
a little too long. So I did have, like, four or five
slides about our erotic comics. In 19 — Let me see when was it — In 1990, we hit one of our
periodic financial crunches. I think I mentioned that before. You know, we were — we
have always been precarious because we did not have
14 million dollars, and so we would occasionally,
and again, we were always flying by the seat of our pants. I mean, we never had
outside investors. You know, we had no
government subsidy. We were always on our own. And do what we had to do was
just generate enough money to keep us going at all times. And you know, we would
do that sometimes by publishing some
comics we didn't like. There was a period in the 1980s
where we bought some comics from Charlton Publishing. Charlton Comics was a
second-rate publisher that was around the 1950s and 60s and 70s. They went out of business when
we bought some second-rate comics from them and published
them and they did so well. They just kept us going
for a few years. In the 19 — 1991, we hit one of
our periodic financial crunches. We were slowly going broke. I mean I could see every
month we were losing ground and I didn't know what to do. And so I came up with
the idea that sex sells. A lightbulb went off and so I said, well maybe we should
publish some sex comics. Howard Chaykin's Black Kiss had
come out a year or two earlier than that, and it sold very well. And so I noticed that. And so Kim and I sat down and
discussed it, and I proposed it, and we struggled with it, like,
well, you know, should we do this? I mean, is it going to, you know, is
it — Does it compromise us unduly? You know, how do we feel about it? So we kind of — We
were agonizing over it. And I remember Robert Crumb was
visiting Seattle for some reason and he was over at the office,
and I was talking to him about it. And I said, oh, you know, we don't
know whether we should do this or not, you know. We're not sure we can survive. We're talking about
doing, you know, porn. And he just looked at
me, and he said, do it. What are you talking about? Why are you even like, you know — why are you even thinking
about this? Just go ahead and do it. And so — so we did it. We started publishing a
line called Eros Comix. We sent out word among
the professional community that we're looking for comics,
so, you know, about sex. And we started publishing
three comics the first month. And then we accelerated. And we were just — we were
just cranking out smut. And within three —
within nine months, we had actually gotten
back to square one. We had actually become
solvent by nine months of publishing Eros Comix. And we — we continued publishing. We occasionally publishing an
Eros Graphic Novel even now, but we publishing it for about
ten years before it kind of faded. The internet came in. Sales started to drop. We published some great stuff. We actually published
good work in addition to just, you know, raw smut. We published a book by
Frank Thorne for example, who was a journeyman cartoonist,
who probably did the best work of his career doing
work for Eros Comix. Francisco Solano Lopez who did the
Eternaut did an Eros Comix for us. So we actually did try to publish
as much good work in the Eros line as possible, but, you know. It did save us for about a decade. >> I enjoyed your story about
going into business as much as [inaudible] and you've — >> Gary Groth: That was the — that
was the most dismal part for me. >> It's necessary — >> Gary Groth: Yeah. >> — periodic financial
crisis number whatever, what was the most — looking
back, what was the most satisfying or enjoyable part of
that journey [inaudible]? >> Gary Groth: From a
business point of view? Just surviving was the most — Well
you know, we always saw, I mean, and I think Kim shared
this idea with me. We weren't really good businessmen. We weren't born businessmen. We didn't really love being,
you know, businessmen. It was a means to an end. >> You started this
when you were 12. I mean. >> Gary Groth: Yeah, but it's —
yeah, but it's because all the, you know, every other
alternative was worse. And it was the way of
taking control of your life, a way of taking control
of your destiny. I didn't want to be — I wanted to
take responsibility for what I did. And back then, back in the 70s,
my options where I could work for somebody or I could
try to do this. And the prospect of
working for somebody, which I was never very
good at, you know. I mean, I worked a lot of jobs and
I would either quit or get laid off or get fired because
I had a bad attitude. I mean, I just wasn't
a good employee. I'd be a terrible employee
at Fantagraphics, but — So, you know, so I wanted to do
something that I could take pride in and take responsibility for
and that just seemed unlikely if you were a cog in the machine
working for some corporation or some company and the idea
of working for, I don't know, a small independent company just
seemed virtually impossible, so remote. So I don't know if that answers
your question, but I mean, you know, just, you know, just getting
through it was, you know, a huge fete because we were not —
we didn't have a five-year plan. We didn't have a ten-year plan. We were just — we were just — we
were always, I mean, sort of do now. But we, you know, we
were just struggling to survive the whole time. And most of our energies
were devoted to the work, you know, to getting the work out. And we didn't even — we didn't
even truly market our books until, you know, really the 90s. And all of our efforts to
market our books, you know, up until then were pretty half-assed because we really just didn't
quite know what we were doing. >> Georgia: I think we have
just one last question. >> Gary Groth: Trina. Uh-oh. Yeah. >> Trina: You may not remember this, it was a comic veen
[phonetic] called Mean Streets. You have a whole issue of that Eros in that [inaudible]
totally trashed Eros. And you — >> Gary Groth: I do remember that. >> Trina: — you wrote — >> Gary Groth: Didn't I write? >> Trina: — You were
absolutely furious at me. Yes you did. You were so mad at me. Just bringing it up. >> Gary Groth: Yeah, I do —
I don't remember the content, but I do remember writing
a long letter. Because you know, we did try. We published Wimmen's cartoonist. We published gay, you
know, gay porn. So we tried to publish
as wide an array of X-rated material as we could. Yeah, we published Gilbert. Terry LaBan did one of the
best things he ever did for us. So yeah, I remember that Trina. Thanks for bringing that up. >> This conversation between
Eros and Fantagraphics or the main comics
in this one line — >> Yeah. >> — does this spill over into
your Tommy Unger because it seems like his career had very similar — >> Gary Groth: Oh — Well,
yeah, Tommy Unger was — For those of you who don't know, Tommy Unger is a brilliant,
brilliant cartoonist. He was a very successful
children's artist here in the states in the 50s and 60s. And his career was
derailed primarily I think because of his really
brutal anti-war cartoons, his political cartoons, as
well as his sex cartoons. He would draw these
really wild, I mean, highly imagined vivid
inventive sex cartoons. And I think it was either
the combination of the two or primarily his political
cartoons that derailed his career as a children's book artist. So if get the opportunity to
interview him later this year, we will certainly talk
about sex cartoons. Okay well thank you very much. [ Applause ]

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