Early in each new year we look back at the prior twelve months in LOAC-Land. It provides our readers with a handy one-stop checklist of our most recent books — and it helps remind us of what we were up to all those months ago!
As we tallied 2018’s Library of American Comics output, we were surprised to see we had both begun and ended the year with a book of never-before-repeated Steve Canyon comics. We kicked off January, 2018 with the release of Volume 8 …
… And in December we wrapped up the year with Stevenson B.’s ninth collection. In these two books Milton Caniff’s globe-trotting trouble-shooter encountered old “friends” like Doagie Hogan and Copper Calhoon amidst travels to Panama, Mexico, the 1964 World’s Fair, and even a short hop through — Vietnam. I always enjoy writing the text features for our Caniff releases — it never ceases to amaze me that, even with an exhaustive biography of the Cartoonist-in-Chief already in print, there is still so much additional information about his life and career waiting to be covered and shared with you.
January was a stellar month, as far as I’m concerned. Not only did we release Canyon Volume 8, but one of my longtime wishes was fulfilled when we published the eleventh in our LOAC Essentials series, featuring the 1945 exploits of Edwina Dumm’s delightful “Cap” Stubbs & Tippie! This book was further highlighted thanks to an excellent Introduction from the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum’s Caitlin McGurk.
The Ohio State University force was strong in LOAC during the earliest months of 2018. Our next book, in April, was the fourth collection of Percy Crosby’s endearing Skippy. In addition to more scrappy exploits of the kid who served as a full or partial template for so many future child-comic-strip stars, OSU professor Jared Gardner provided us with another insightful essay about Crosby and his unique creation.
We had a steady flow of releases throughout the summer: our second For Better or For Worse in June, the third-and-final volumes in our two space-opera series, Star Hawks (July) and Star Wars (August). The “dog days” month also saw us make a rare foray into the world of softcovers, as our King of the Comics retrospective, originally created to help celebrate King Features Syndicate’s one hundredth anniversary, received its first paperback printing.
September brought many of us the first signs of autumn, as well as Superman Silver Age Sundays: 1959-1963. Pete Poplaski wowed us once again with another of his spot-on homage covers.
October was a terrific month — Dean and I celebrated a Red Sox World Series victory (fourth in this century, more than any other MLB team) and the conclusion of our reprinting of George Herriman’s Baron Bean. Jared was back, providing the text feature as he had in the prior two volumes in this Essentials series-within-a-series.
Capping off a beauty of a month, we also proudly brought Little Orphan Annie into the 1950s with “Open Season for Trouble,” the fifteenth release in this exceptional series. Arf!
Another long-running series celebrated its whopping twenty-fifth book, as Dick Tracy bowed in November by facing off with diabolical villains including Diamonds and The Doll. New cast members include Groovy Grove and cartoonist Vera Alldid, who has reasons to “Sparkle” as his story unfolds!
With a rundown like this, it’s clear 2018 was another busy and rewarding year for all of us involved with The Library of American Comics. We hope you felt the same way, because without your support and feedback, we’re just whistling in the dark. There are so many entertainment options available today, we are always obliged when you choose to spent your hard-earned cash on our titles. We strive to be worthy of your patronage, and as 2019 unfolds we’ll continue to offer you a selection of old favorites (Amazing Spider-Man Volume 5 and For Better or For Worse Volume 3 are in the queue) and some new projects we believe qualify as truly special — books like our upcoming collection of Alex Toth stories and art, Treasures Retold, and Screwball! The Cartoonists Who Made the Funnies Funny.
We also look forward to seeing you in this space throughout the coming year as we drive down the LOAC Road to 200 in preparation for the two hundredth book in the LOAC line!