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Eric Reynolds from Fantagraphics talks about his favorite books

Fantagraphics' future projects...

READERSVOICE.COM: What are some of the big projects Fantagraphics is planning or undertaking at the moment, like the Peanuts collection for example?

ERIC REYNOLDS: Peanuts is certainly still the biggest.

We’re about to release the third and are continuing to give the series as big a push as anything we publish — we have to, it’s on a scale that’s much larger than anything else we do.

We’re also excited about our upcoming Art School Confidential book by Daniel Clowes, which will be a collection of the screenplay and more for the upcoming film directed by Terry Zwigoff, written by Clowes, and based on the Eightball story of the same name.

I’m personally very much looking forward to our Victor Moscoso retrospective, Sex, Rock ‘n’ Roll & Optical Illusions.

Moscoso’s never had any kind of solo retrospective of his work but certainly deserves one, with all of those classic psychedelic posters he’s created since the 1960s and all of his great underground comics from Zap, etc.

I’m also personally very much involved with Mome, which is our new anthology that begins in July and which I really think will be *the* anthology of recent memory.

It’s got a tremendous lineup of young new talent: John Pham, Paul Hornschemeier, Sophie Crumb, Andrice Arp, Jeff Brown, Anders Nilsen, Kurt Wolfgang, Marc Bell, Gabrielle Bell, and Jonathan Bennett.

Bennett is my favorite cartoonist to come along in years and everyone in the book is great.

It’s being designed by Jordan Crane and edited by myself and Gary Groth.

RV: When you were news editor for The Comics Journal from 1993-1996 you covered the obscenity trial of Mike Diana, author of the magazine Boiled Angel. I was wondering if he ended up going to jail and, if so, how long for? What happened to him and is he still creating comics?

ER: He went to jail for around 30 days, but he wasn’t sentenced to prison if memory serves.

I believe he was held without bail while awaiting sentencing, or something like that.

He did become the first American cartoonist to ever go to prison for drawing dirty pictures, though, so it was still an amazing precedent.

Unfortunately, although I was absolutely immersed in the case when it was active, I’ve lost touch with Diana.

I’m not sure what he’s up to these days, although I believe he’s still making art.

RV: How did you end up as a character on The Simpsons tv show in 2000, and how did you go about it?

ER: I didn’t go about it at all; in fact, it was a surprise!

I have a friend, a fantastically funny man named Dana Gould, who is a writer and producer for the show.

When they wrote that episode and had a character who worked for a comic book publisher who needed a name, Dana thought, “I know a comic book publisher!”

And so it was done.

But he never told me about it and I first saw it the night the episode originally aired.

I was with some friends and we all looked at each other like, “Did you hear that, too?!”

We were floored!

I emailed Dana that night and asked him about it and he said, “Oh yeah, didn’t I tell you I named a character after you?”

I assured him that this was something I would have remembered!

Every once in a while that episode gets repeated and someone emails me about it the next day.

It might be the most super cool thing that ever happens to me in my life.

I mean, Jesus, that’s like having the Beatles name-drop you in a song!

I have some relatives who know nothing about comics and don’t understand what I do at all, but they’re endlessly impressed that I was name-checked on the Simpsons.

RV: How much time do you devote to your own art work each week, and what sort of projects are you working on?

ER: Not much! I haven’t been drawing these days much at all, aside from the odd freelance job.

I’ve just been too busy with other Fantagraphics responsibilities, not too mention life responsibilities.

I’d like to “get back to the drawing board” but to say so makes me sounds like a third-rate Denis Kitchen or Kevin Eastman!

Or at least a second-rate Larry Marder.

– Interview by Simon Sandall.