Book launch – George Metzger, Beyond Time and Again at Pulp Fiction Books, Vancouver, April 15Â 2016
A piece of comics history by a Vancouver-based artist is getting a second chance. Seattle publisher Fantagraphics Books (under the imprint Fantagraphics Underground Press) is reissuing Beyond Time and AgainÂ by George Metzger.
– by Shawn Conner
According to the Fantagraphics website, “In 1967, George Metzger began serializing his counterculture comic strip Beyond Time and Again in underground West coast newspapers, combining high fantasy with prescient views of science, climate change, and political authoritarianism. Faithfully reproduced, for the first time, from the original art, this comix collection brings Metzger’s exquisite craft and mind-bending imagination to a new generation.”
To celebrate the new edition of the book, George will appear at Pulp Fiction Books (2422 Main St.) in Vancouver on Friday, April 15. He’ll be joined by another expat local cartoonist, Brandon Graham, for a short talk before signing. Graham willÂ sign his own works as well, including Prophet, King City, Multiple Warheads, and the anthologyÂ Island.
After moving to Vancouver, MetzgerÂ contributedÂ work to local series Fog City ComixÂ as well as the free weeklyÂ The Georgia Straight.
WithÂ Seventh Sons, high priests, sacred mushrooms, half-naked wood nymphs, and “Mountains of Chrystal Madness,” the story seems likeÂ fairly typical ’70s stoner/bong-inspiredÂ wizard stuffÂ – at least until it takes a turn to dark sci-fi (“I will augment your body with machine strength and senses perfecting cybernetics”).Â It’s theÂ art thatÂ is definitely the selling point;Â Metzger’s fluid lineÂ is obviously inspired by EC Comics masters like Wally Wood as run through the trippyÂ mind-warp style of visual storytelling of the underground comix era.Â This edition of Beyond Time and Again was shot from the original artwork.
According to his Wiki bio, Metzger was born in 1939 in Illinois. “He was an underground comics artist during the mid-1960s and early 1970s in California, eventually relocating to Canada, where he worked in animation.” One of the studios he worked at was Marv Newland‘s International Rocketship Limited, which produced the infamous short “Bambi Meets Godzilla” (1969).
Beyond Time and Again is considered by some to be among the first graphic novels. According to this article by comics historian Paul Levitz, “[Early comics fan Richard] Kyle, with Denis Wheary, collected underground cartoonist George Metzger’s Beyond Time and Again in hardcover book form in 1976 with the subtitle “a graphic novel” on its title page, around the same moment when Morningstar Press’s edition of Richard Corben’s Bloodstar used the term on its flap…”
According to a bio on the Lambiek website, “He [Metzger] additionally specialized in fantasy comics, and created Moondog, an underground comic which ran through Print Mint from 1969 until 1973. He also contributed to Gothic Blimp Works and Bill Spicer‘s Graphic Story Magazine, as well as the comic Laugh in the Dark in 1971. In 1978, Kitchen Sink Press published his Mu, the Land that Never Was.”