Carnival of souls: Special “San Diego Comic-Con Days 3&4” edition

* News of note from Saturday and Sunday at the San Diego Comic-Con:

* Fantagraphics is publishing the EC Comics Library, in a series of black-and-white volumes centered on individual creators rather than the famous EC titles. So instead of a big horror book with a bunch of dudes’ stuff from Tales from the Crypt or whatever, you’ll get a collection of Harvey Kurtzman’s war stories, Wally Wood’s suspense stories, Al Williamson’s science fiction stories, or Jack Davis and Al Feldstein’s horror stories. (That’s actually the initial line-up.) I’m excited about this project, not just because with Peanuts and Mickey Mouse and the Disney Ducks and Popeye and Krazy Kat and so on Fantagraphics has established itself as the best publisher of archival material, but because their approach here sounds like it’ll be more along the lines of what they’ve done for Jacques Tardi recently, or even the Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez Love and Rockets digests. They’re very good at that sort of thing, too. Anyway, Tom Spurgeon broke the news and interviewed Gary Groth about it.

* But wait, there’s more: Fantagraphics is publishing The Complete Zap Comix, collecting every issue of the seminal (and still ongoing!) underground comix anthology series in one giant slipcased collection. That link takes you to Robot 6, where my colleague Chris Mautner interviews Gary Groth about the project. Besides comics by R. Crumb, S. Clay Wilson, Spain, Robert Williams, Rick Griffith, Victor Moscoso, Gilbert Shelton et al, the collection will also include an oral history of Zap. Groth pegs the size at about 550 pages, but in the comments, associate publisher Eric Reynolds says it’s actually closer to 800. And there you have it, the “News of the Con” one-two punch.

* Marvel announced some of its post-Fear Itself plans, several of which center on writer Matt Fraction. Fraction is writing a new Defenders series co-starring Iron Fist, a character he helped revive to great effect a few years back. He’s also co-writing a bi-weekly series called The Fearless, which sounds kinda like it has a Brightest Day vibe, with Cullen Bunn and Chris Yost, illustrated by Mark Bagley and Paul Pelletier. And the big Dark Reign/Heroic Age-style umbrella label for the post-Fear Itself world will be Battle Scars. Here’s a pretty thorough panel report on these and other announcements.

* Brian K. Vaughan is returning to comics with a new science-fiction series called Saga, illustrated by Fiona Staples and published by Image.

* Here are your 2011 Eisner Award winners. Congratulations to my colleagues at Comic Book Resources, and to the delightful Jim McCann. It’s also nice to see Jacques Tardi’s It Was the War of the Trenches earn some recognition.

* In other news…

* Clive Barker says Abarat III will be out at the end of September. Looking forward to it.

* The wonderful Norwegian cartoonist Jason tries and fails to come to terms with the horrible mass murder in Norway.

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