Saving the History of Comics, One Book at a Time
I don’t usually promote Kickstarters since there are so many. But this has resonance for me. Drew Ford, formerly comics editor of Dover (where he put together over 30 graphic novel collections), is launching his own imprint called IT’S ALIVE!, were he will continue his mission of bringing lost and forgotten graphic novels and uncollected comic book runs back into print!
Currently, on Kickstarter, he is trying to republish a graphic novel entitled RED RANGE by Joe Lansdale and Sam Glanzman that has been out of print for almost two decades. The second book he will publish under the IT’S ALIVE! banner will be Trina Robbins’ 1981 serialized comic book adaptation of Sax Rohmer’s 1919 novel DOPE—collected for the first time ever! I asked him to talk a bit about this fascinating Western theme.
Why did you start your own company? I started my own company, like many I suppose, to be my own boss. I was ready to take responsibility for every aspect of each project, so that, sink or swim, I could ultimately “do it” the way I believed it should be done. This isn’t to say I’m not open to others ideas. In fact, before I make those “final” decisions on how things should be done, I seek out advice from many brilliant and experienced comics professionals, before giving the final green light to any new archival collection. But at the end of the day, I’m the one pushing the button.
What makes this book so important that it is your kick-off? When asked in a recent EW article why he wrote RED RANGE, Joe R. Lansdale has this to say: “The Old West had black heroes who have been forgotten or ignored, and this was my chance to blend that fact with pulp, Western, and science fiction storytelling. And it was a chance to work with one of my heroes, Sam Glanzman.” I can honestly say these are the two main reasons why this book needs to be in print—shining a light on American history’s forgotten black heroes, and a chance to bring more work by Golden Age comic book master (and WWII vet) Sam Glanzman back into print. This will be my fourth collection of Glanzman’s work, and I plan to publish many more. Glanzman has quietly had one of the largest, most unsung impacts on the way comics are made today, through the influence he has had over many of today’s top comic book creators, including Max Brooks, Garth Ennis, Mark Waid, Walt Simonson, Larry Hama, Stephen R. Bissette, Kurt Busiek, Paul Levitz, Beau Smith, Chuck Dixon, Chris Claremont, Timothy Truman and many more.
What does this and IT’S ALIVE give to a new generation? My mission with IT’S ALIVE!, and with all the previous collections I put out, is to save the history of comics, one book at a time. I hope through this, and future collections, we will help future generations to discover and enjoy these lost gems for many decades to come! It can seem like a daunting task if I look at the big picture for too long, but when I step in a bit closer and dig out one of these lost masterpieces from a box of old comics, and spend a little time with it, I suddenly know I’ll do whatever it takes to get it back into readers’ hands!
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