Journalista has a link to the complaint.

Scanning the complaint quickly, there are two counts: defamation in the as yet unpublished WE TOLD YOU SO history of Fantagraphics, and a violation of California’s Right of Publicity clause for the use of Ellison’s name on the cover of the recent COMICS JOURNAL LIBRARY: THE WRITERS.

We’ll be reading the complaint at our leisure a little later because it looks to be a stunning piece of writing — we already spotted the phrase “a giddy young Groth” and are dying to know more. Knowing — and admiring — all of the parties we can only say that in the case of perpetually adolescent genius, wisdom is always the victim.


  1. That is weird! Not two minutes ago I had the book in my hand and noticed Harlan Ellison’s name on the front with “Famous comics dilettante” next to it. I lauhged a lot and wondered if he was going to sue.

  2. I can’t believe Fantagraphics were dumb enough to but Ellisons name on the cover, I could see this coming and I’ve never been sued by Harlan Ellison (there’s still time though). As to the biography, I hope Ellison’s on a loser with that one, provided they haven’t put in anything truely libelous. The bio is going to be their view on events. If Ellison doesn’t like it he’s got more then enough places he can post a rebuttal.

  3. Just read through the whole complaint and I love the way it makes Gary Groth and Kim Thompson sound like a mysterious gay couple living under assumed names.

    Seriously though I was amused by the way in which the complaint dipicts Fantagraphics as a pissy little tinpot publisher, working out of the back room of their house, and then suggests they’ve caused massive and irrepairable damage to his name, reputation etc with the millions of people who read their paper and electronic publications. I guess that it’s the nature of the law that you can have it both ways.

  4. Oh, Harlan, Harlan, Harlan. He spends a whole lifetime pissing people off and ensuring that the most enduring image of him is “that asshole”, and then goes around suing people for expressingt the very opinion of him that he so enthusiastically planted himself.

    Some people just never, EVER get it. *pets his hyper little chihuahua head*

  5. So I guess since Fantagraphics has some $$$, Ellison feels the time has come to take another stab at relieving them of it.

    The man’s a prince. And he’ll sue you for saying anything else. (So watch out, “Jonathan Miller!”)

  6. This was something that was bound to happen. Gary Groth, Kim Thompson and everyone in the Publicity Department, especially the head of that department, have made a career of bashing other publishers and artists, without the slightest inkling of accountability. WW Norton should terminate their distribution deal with them. They are no longer a viable, groundbreaking conpany, publishing groundbreaking new artists. They are now a re-issue publishing company, barely holding on to a thread of their past glory. Regardless, the complaint calls the company “hostile,” which, as enyone whose ever dealt with them can tell you, is an understatment. This suit will put the business out to sea, clearly, right along with their credibility, which left a while ago.

  7. here. Here.! They’re horrible to deal with, really, NO ONE can dispute the fact that Fantagraphics is horrible to deal with, regardless of whether or not they buy their art. By the way, the line has gotten blurry as to whom they actually publish. (p.s. Anyone who knows him, or has spoken with him, should ask R. Crumb what he thinks of the Fantragraphics “machine.”
    More scathing than anything here, I’ll tell ya.

  8. I am both a fan of Fantagraphics and Harlan Ellison. I feel it to be a sad state of affairs for someone like Harlan that has made so many mentions of his belief in Freedom of Speech to sue someone over something like this. Harlan was partially responsible for putting Warren Magazines out of business (as he claimed in an interview)when they stole one of his stories. Stealing is of course wrong and they did leave themselves open to be sued but it would have been nice if he followed his own lead when Bill Mantlo used one of his stories in the Hulk comic and all he asked for (I wasn’t there, maybe he wanted more or less) was a lifetime sub to Marvel Comics. Warren published much good work by Goodwin, Wrightson, Corben, Frazetta, Ken Kelly, Bruce Jones and others. It would have been nice if they had continued to be a viable market for those that wanted to do something other than super-heroes. Now we might lose Fantagraphics which publish the best new material comic out there, Love And Rockets, as well as keep such creators alive through reprints as Vaughn Bode, Charles Schulz, Bernie Krigstein and Hal Foster. Harlan is a good guy in a lot of ways but he really seems to thrive on these fights. I’d prefer if he used this energy to write (and finish the Last Dangerous Visions book). I love to read Harlan’s work but I also look forward to my Love And Rockets fix and reading each new Peanuts collection as they appear. I also must mention the superb Barry Windsor-Smith books from Fantagraphics. If Harlan wins the comic world will be poorer for it.