Thursday, September 1, 2011

Jack Jackson's American History: February 2012

Tom Spurgeon reported on Tuesday of a forthcoming edition of Jack Jackson's LOS TEJANOS/LOST CAUSE from Fantagraphics Books. I emailed some questions to Publisher Kim Thompson at Fantagraphics and received this reply from the series editor/Publisher Gary Groth:

What are the other four titles to be collected in the second and third Jack Jackson omnibus volumes?
GG: "Tentatively, this is how the books would break down:
Los Tejanos & Lost Cause
Indian Lover & Comanche Moon
Alamo & San Saba
The first is set in stone and contains an introduction by the novelist Ron Hansen."

If sales are good enough, will there be a fourth volume of Mr. Jackson's shorter historical works (some already seen in the previous Fantagraphics collection: GOD'S BOSOM AND OTHER STORIES)?
GG: "Yes. Plus, don't forget his satirical work, which we collected in Optimism of Youth."

Are any of Mr. Jackson's family involved in the development of these collected editions?
GG: "Yes, mostly his son, Sam Jackson, who I'm working with closely. Sam provided impeccable reproductions of his father's work from which we are scanning everything."

Has an art director been assigned to the series?
GG: "It's not set in stone, but it looks like Jacob Covey will design the books."

Are there similar challenges to marketing Mr. Jackson's historical novels, and bringing Jacques Tardi's historical novels to the U.S. market?
GG: "I don't edit the Tardi series, but the only similarity between the two authors is that they have both been previously published in the US without much commercial success. We turned that around with Tardi and intend to do the same thing with Jackson, whose time, we hope, has come. Regardless of how successful his forthcoming books are, I'm only sorry he's not alive to see his life's work all published in a uniform series of volumes." [answers via email: 9/1]

I wholeheartedly commend Mr. Groth for publishing the collected works of, in my humble opinion, the best author to emerge from the underground scene. Mr. Jackson was able to create a compelling, believable world in each of his historical novels, peopled with characters that come alive through historical detail and natural dialogue. Hopefully, these works will find the wider audience (and the respect) that Mr. Jackson deserves.

Gary Groth's tribute from THE COMICS JOURNAL 278: "Recuerden Jack Jackson"
LOS TEJANOS/LOST CAUSE Fantagraphics Books product page
Ron Hansen biographical/bibliographical information
Here is an in-depth documentary about Mr. Jackson by historian Patrick Rosenkranz via YouTube:

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