Fantagraphics’ 2021 line-up includes Windsor-Smith, Panter, Sala and more

See what the Seattle publisher will release in the first eight months of 2021.

I keep saying things like, “Man, am I going to be happy when the dumpster fire known as 2020 is finally over,” to which my wife will respond, “Hey, 2021 may not be any better.”

But here’s the thing: what my wife doesn’t realize is that 2021 has the distinct advantage of having a new Barry Windsor-Smith graphic novel coming out, courtesy of Fantagraphics. So take that, 2020.

Windsor-Smith’s Monster isn’t the only graphic novel the publisher will release, of course. They recently dropped us a note highlighting 16 other titles they have planned through August, along with their full winter and summer catalogs.

Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights you can expect from the Seattle publisher next year:

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Comics Lowdown: ‘Abadazad,’ ‘Ghost Rider’ artist Mike Ploog to retire

Plus: designing variant covers, Sonny Liew, Tillie Walden, Simon Hanselman, food in San Diego.

Veteran artist Mike Ploog, known to comic fans as the co-creator of Ghost Rider, announced he will be retiring after a 47-year career. His career began with Filmation, as a clean-up artist on Batman and Superman, and eventually was promoted to layouts. He moved onto Hanna-Barbera, continuing his layout work until he became the assistant to Will Eisner.

He made his comic book debut on Werewolf by Night in 1972. Since then, he was credited as a co-creator of Ghost Rider and notable artist on Man-ThingPlanet of the Apes and The Monster of Frankenstein. Later in his career, he did minimal comic work, but teamed with J.M. DeMatteis on Abadazad in 2004.

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Comics Lowdown: More Manga, Scary Stories and an Inside Look at North Korea

A North Korean cartoonist looks at the lighter side of defection, an American cartoonist turns down an Iranian award, and Humanoids announces an all-ages horror graphic novel.

Struggles and Smiles: Former North Korean animator Choi Seong-guk was surprised at how different the comics were when he defected to South Korea: “When I first saw South Korean cartoons, I just didn’t get them,” he says. “There were no stories about patriotism or catching spies or war. They just seemed useless to me.” There were a lot of other differences too, including some idioms that he misunderstood. Now he has turned his experiences into an online comic that depicts both the funny and the serious side of the lives of North Koreans at home and in South Korea.

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