- Gary Groth
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, young Groth published "Fantastic Fanzine", a
fanzineand a pun on the Marvel Comics title Fantastic Four. Later Groth worked as an assistant to artist Jim Steranko.
In 1976 Groth founded Fantagraphics Books Incorporated with
Mike Catron, and took over an adzinenamed "The Nostalgia Journal" and soon renamed it The Comics Journal, "transforming it from an adzine into a magazine of news and criticism that just happened to carry advertisements." [ [http://www.tcj.com/messboard/viewtopic.php?t=1340&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=20 The Comics Journal Message Board :: View topic - The Comics Journal #32, Jan. 1977 ] ] Groth's "Comics Journal" applied rigorous critical standards to comic books. It disparaged the more formulaic superherobooks and their "work-for-hire" publishers in favor of artists like R. Crumband Art Spiegelmanand creator ownership of copyrights. It featured lengthy, freewheeling interviews with comics professionals, often conducted by Groth himself.
Groth, a strong supporter of art, intellectualism, and creator ownership, is no stranger to controversy. His supporters and detractors differ on whether he has a contentious personality or a strong will, either of which might be causually associated with several feuds and lawsuits in a comics industry and world with no shortage of strong wills and vested interests. Interviewer
Peter Baggeonce asked Groth if being hated by some was distressing; Groth replied it was not, since "a man should be judged by the quality of his enemies."
Groth's first editorial in "The Nostalgia Journal" #27, [ [http://www.tcj.com/235/nostedit.html The Nostalgia Journal: Editorial ] ] began a lengthy feud ["The earliest issues focused on a clash between Groth and Alan Light, publisher of competing adzine "The Buyer’s Guide for Comic Fandom"." [http://www.tcj.com/messboard/viewtopic.php?t=1340&sid=352cc0ef095299098e1272164eda860a] ] with
Alan Light, founder and at that time publisher of "The Buyer's Guide for Comics Fandom" .Groth and Light were friends before Light published Groth's final issue of "Fantastic Fanzine"; Light's expedient business methods met with Groth's disapproval. [Light had " [taken] over the publishing chores of Fantastic Fanzine Special II, the last issue of FF I edited" - Groth, ibid] "Fandom: Confidential", Ron Frantz's history of the WE Seal of approval program, [cite book |last = Frantz |first = Ron |title =Fandom: Confidential | location = Mena, Arkansas | publisher = Midguard Publishing | year = 2000 | pages = 128-173 |isbn = 978-0967827308] , outlines Groth's confrontations with Light at conventions and via late night collect calls. Light in turn cashed a check for a "Comics Journal" advertisement that he refused to print. Groth acquired a copy of the WSA mailing list and without authorization used it to solicit subscriptions; Groth later apologized for what he claimed was a misunderstanding, [Frantz. p.149] and soon after broke ties with WSA. In 1983 when Light sold TBG, a Groth editorial denounced Light. [Groth called Light "fandom's first real business predator. His career of hustling is a monument to selfish opportunism and spiritual squalor." "Comics Journal" #81] Light's subsequent libel suit against Groth was eventually dismissed. [Frantz. p.169,171]
Groth's 1991 editorial "Lies We Cherish: The Canonization of
Carol Kalish" [ "Comics Journal" #146 (November 1991) http://www.tcj.com/2_archives/e_groth1191.html] still ruffles some comic book fans. [http://www.comicon.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php/ubb/get_topic/f/42/t/000075/p/1.html]
*Groth, Gary, and Robert Fiore, eds. "The New Comics: Interviews from the Pages of The Comics Journal". New York : Berkley, 1988. ISBN 0-425-11366-3.
*Spurgeon, Tom and Jacob Covey. "Comics As Art: We Told You So". Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics. (forthcoming) ISBN 1560977388
Sequential Tart: [http://www.sequentialtart.com/archive/feb00/groth.shtml Interview with Gary Groth] (2000)
Bookforum: [http://bookforum.com/bookies.html Stand-up Comics] Fantagraphics' Thirtieth Anniversary
* Comics Reporter: [http://www.comicsreporter.com/index.php/resources/interviews/109/ Short Interview with Gary Groth and Kim Thompson]
* Comics Reporter: [http://www.comicsreporter.com/index.php/resources/interviews/6895/ Short Interview With Greg Sadowski and Gary Groth] (On Fantagraphics'
Harvey KurtzmanTCJ library book)
* Inkstuds: [http://www.inkstuds.com/?p=155 One-hour podcast interview] with Gary Groth and
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.