Frank Johnson, Secret Pioneer of American Comics

Fantagraphics

1 comic

Softcover 634 pp

Ongoing

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  • English (United States)
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About this edition

7.1"×9" Full color. Cover price $49.99.

Plot

An astonishing historical and artistic discovery: a 2300 page proto-graphic novel begun by a "weekend cartoonist" in 1928 and continuing over the next 50 years! When Frank Johnson, an itinerant musician and shipping clerk, died in 1979, he left behind a startling discovery: more than 2,300 notebook pages of comics and 131 unbound drawings, among them a massive, continuous story line beginning in the earliest surviving notebook dated 1928 - before the existence of comic books! - and following the exploits of his own cast of characters across 50 years until Johnson passed away. During this lifelong project, Johnson invented in private many of the conventions and tropes that define comics storytelling, effectively enacting an alternative secret history of the comics medium. This debut publication of Johnson's work is the first of two 600+ page volumes that will collect the best 1200 pages of his comics, including Wally's Gang, his 50-year magnum opus chronicling the humorous, cliff-hanging adventures of a group of bachelor friends; The Bowser Boys, a seamy, darkly slapstick depiction of bohemian street life that could be considered the first underground comic series; and, coming in Volume 2, Juke Boys, absurd, self-reflexive graphic experimentation. Curator and historian Chris Byrne and fine artist and graphic novelist Keith Mayerson have brought this astounding work into the light of day and provide historical background and analysis.

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Authors

Frank Johnson (Script, Drawing, Inker)

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