Tuesday, Jan 6th, 2015

2014: A Look Back

canwellposted by Bruce Canwell

Though we had discussions in 2006, Dean and I officially began working on the first Library of American Comics release, Terry and the Pirates Volume 1, in January of 2007, meaning this month we celebrate LOAC's eighth anniversary and move into our ninth year. During that span of time we've produced close to one hundred books, received industry award nominations each year and brought home half a dozen trophies, done research from the East Coast (Boston University) to the West (UCLA), and from the northcountry (Michigan State University) to the heartland (the Ohio State University). Most important of all, we've struck up dozens of new friendships with academicians, peers and family members of our artists, other comics professionals (both retired and contemporary), and several of our readers.

Before we get too far into our ninth year, I thought we might look back and bid our eighth year a fond farewell. Here's what stays with me when I think about LOAC in 2014…

We Traveled Over Ten Thousand Miles!

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Dean and Lorraine made two trips to California during the spring and summer months, then Dean flew solo to Baltimore, New York, and Ohio State in the autumn. I also made treks to Baltimore (you can read about all about it here) and Ohio State (and read about that trip here); I connected with Dean both times. In addition, Dean drove up from his home to meet with me in early April, while I was in his general vicinity attending to a family matter. This year Dean and I logged more miles, did more research, and had more face-to-face meetings than any previous year in LOAC history.

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We Were Triply-Honored at The Eisner Awards!

It was a humbling but splendid July evening in San Diego when LOAC experienced its best single-year showing at the industry's version of the Oscars, the Eisner Awards. The second volume in our Toth cycle, Genius Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth, took home awards in both the "Best Comics Related Book" and "Best Publication Design" categories, while we won for the fourth time in the area of "Best Archival Collection/Project-Strips," this time for Tarzan: The Complete Russ Manning Newspaper Strips Volume 1. We posted the news, and a handful of pictures, here.

We always value recognition within the field for our books. The awards we receive are first and foremost a reflection of the contributions to the field made by the artists whose work we reprint, and a reaffirmation of our goal to preserve that work and present it in ways that make it vibrant and vital for modern-day audiences.

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And Then We Published Books! Continuations of Ongoing Series ...

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... Plus Brand-New Entries Appearing for the First Time Under the LOAC Banner:

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  • The lavish Story of Puck: What Fools These Mortals Be!
  • Both volumes representing the complete Bobby London run on Popeye!
  • A pair of superhero strip reprints produced in cooperation with DC Comics: Batman and Robin Volume 1 and Wonder Woman!
  • The final volume in our Alex Toth trilogy: Genius, Animated!
  • The blast-from-the-past that is Ripley's Believe It or Not!

By my count, that equals twenty books in a single year - not a bad showing for a group that's smaller in number than Robin Hood and his Merry Men!

Counting the inaugural release from our new sister imprint, EuroComics, make that twenty-one books!

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Now, of course, the old year is gone and 2015 stretches out ahead. What will this new year hold? You likely have already heard our next Essential will be the middle act in the saga of George Herriman's Baron Bean - and you likewise saw the press release from this fall announcing our agreement with Marvel Comics to reprint the Amazing Spider-Man newspaper strip - and I just recently discussed the fun associated with our upcoming release of the original Secret Agent X-9 strips.

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Our ongoing series will also continue, of course, but we have an announcement coming very, very soon that we're all tremendously excited about.

So keep watching this space—we're having too much fun (or maybe we're just too dumb!) to start taking it easy now…

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