Today would have been the 58th birthday of Kim Thompson. Recently I stumbled across this photograph, from the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in 2012, while looking through the Fantagraphics flickr feed; I keep coming back to it. That's Kim with his back to the camera, looking at the work of our friend and former art director, Dale Yarger, who passed away that spring, another wonderful human being we lost to cancer way too soon. It would have been unfathomable at that time to think that Kim, too, would be gone within a year. Yet here we are. That's the great Jim Woodring in the foreground, with an unspeakably reverent look on his face that says more than I could ever hope to write. All three of these gentlemen have loomed large in my life, and this photo awashes me with emotion.
"Though Watson illustrates Tammy’s life in excruciating, embarrassing detail to often-hilarious effect, her clear affection and empathy for her subject shines through. She universalizes Tammy’s experiences, taking us back to relive our own tortured, giddy, deadly serious, horny, boring, and horribly self-conscious teenage years." – Robert Kirby, The Comics Journal
"This is exactly what summer blockbusters should be, only Milburn’s is a singular vision. He exploits clichés by embracing them, and he busily captures hyperspace hilarity, while the black and white pages never feel overwhelmed by the dark backdrops or Milburn’s detailed designs." – Alex Carr, Broken Frontier
"Tardi is unremitting in his focus on the small, human details of the catastrophe—not just the look of uniforms and weaponry, but the way one soldier advances in an awkward, stiff-armed posture, 'protecting my belly with the butt of the rifle,' and the way another makes sculptures and rings from discarded shells, to sell to his comrades." – Gabriel Winslow-Yost, The New York Review of Books
"Many of Davis’ stories here explore the way people live with each other and try to find themselves in the modern world. They are funny, surprising, touching, and insightful. Some have a sci-fi slant to them, some are fantasy, and some are just about real people." – Rich Barrett, Mental Floss
"The title story might be the best known in the entire EC comics oeuvre… EC tales often sported morals reinforcing decency and forward-thinking that were decades ahead of their time. 'Judgment Day' is one such story, an O. Henry type of tale about an Earthling astronaut who visits a robot-inhabited planet that is strictly divided along color lines…When the twist ending comes, it carries a surprise even today; sadly, this reflects as much on our own time as the era in which the story was produced." – David Maine, Spectrum Culture
"I was amazed to find that many of these people were born in the late 1800s and that most of them have military service as part of their illustrious resumes. These weren’t hoity-toity art students born with silver spoons in their mouths; these were hard-working American mutts that, against nearly impossible odds – using only their imaginations, a lot of blood, sweat and tears (and apparently a huge amount of cigarette smoke) – managed to craft a uniquely American artistic medium that would influence countless generations to come." – Bob Leeper, Nerdvana
"The story unfolds asynchronously, creating a sense of mystery. Why does the kids’ teacher, Miss Sakaki, have bandages on her face? Why is the class bully so affected by what happened to Arié? Why is the new kid at school, Amahiko, willing to jump out of his classroom’s window? And why are there glowing butterflies everywhere?" – Unshelved
Plug:Paul Gravett has a feature on French artist Jacques Tardi: "The exhibition and much of Tardi’s work reveals his strong anti-war feeling. It’s an obsession that goes back to his childhood, part of it spent in post-War Germany."
Commentary:MTV.com on social issues being discussed and dissected at Comic-Con. Trina Robbins "described the underground comics world being like a boys' club she wasn't invited into. So she and other women made their own comics. 'I produced the very first all-woman comic book in the world, in 1970,' she said. Her new book, 'Pretty in Ink,' is about women cartoonists, and only the latest book by this herstorian of women in comics."
It was bound to happen with 32 years of comics in the making. On Friday at the Eisner Awards Ceremony, the two cartoonists Fantagraphics has grown up with received their due. In the category of Best Writer/Artist, Jaime Hernandeznbsp;received an Eisner for his work on Love and Rockets to be followed quickly by Gilbert Hernandez for his standalone story "Untitled" in Love and Rockets: New Stories #6 (page 59 for those of you at home).
Gilbert gave a touching speech and we even snapped a photo of his notes. Jaime juggled his Eisner a bit, speechless yet very endearing.
AND Félicitations are due to Jacques Tardi and Jean-Pierre Verney!
The Eisner for Best U.S. Edition of International Material has been awarded to Goddamn This WarCreated 15 years after the completion of his Eisner Award-winning World War I masterwork It Was the War of the Trenches, Tardi's Goddamn This War! is a brand new, wholly individual graphic novel that serves as a companion piece to Trenches, but can be read entirely on its own. Told with gritty insight, wit, and despair-sharing Trenches sustained sense of outrage, pitch-black gallows humor, and impeccably scrupulous historical exactitude-this book is not to be missed.
Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds accepted the awards on behalf of Tardi, Verney and the late great translater and our publisher Kim Thompson. This was one of the last books Kim worked on from start to finish and Reynolds put it best when he said that Kim wanted to show the world the best European comics/bande dessinee possible.
Honk Fest West on Friday was a blast! Over 30 cacophonous brass bands from across the country descended on Georgetown for this annual gathering. As was the case last year, the event began on a somber note with a funeral march in front of Fantagraphics Bookstore in memory of Kim Thompson on the first anniversary of his passing. The concerts climaxed with a pitched percussion battle between the Super Bowl champion Seahawks Blue Thunder and the Garfield Drumline (alma mater of musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, and Macklemore.) Too much fun!
Our good friend and former Mayor Mike McGinn dropped in to do some comix shopping during the festival. Lest we be accused of favoritism, we also played host to current Mayor Ed Murray a week earlier at the colorful Georgetown Carnival below. Good times.
From the Eric Reynolds archives: Kim Thompson hanging out with Eric, Rhea Patton, and Gary Groth, all celebrating Groth's 50th birthday. Kim passed away one year ago today. He still is and will always be missed by his family, friends, co-workers and the comics community.
Call it a Love Hate relationship: Visitors to the Fantagraphics booth #207 at this weekend's sold-out Emerald City Comicon in Seattle will be the first in the country to get copies of Buddy Buys a Dump. The third volume of Peter Bagge's Buddy Bradley stories includes the Hate Annual adventures with a new 20-page conclusion. Come see.
Ellen Forney and David Lasky will sign at our booth today at 4:30 following their informative panel discussion on health care in the comix community. Don't miss the panel on Fantagraphics' future on Saturday at 1:00 PM in room TCC 301 with panelists Gary Groth, Eric Reynolds, Michael Catron and Kristy Valenti moderated by Paul Constant of The Stranger. (Check out this week's issue for Constant's panel preview.) This fascinating discussion will continue after the panel when the editors drop by our booth. Then meet the editor of Simon and Kirby's Young Romance series, Michel Gagné, at 3:00 PM.
Don't miss the booth appearance by Stan Sakai on Sunday at 11:00 AM. He'll be signing the first seven volumes of Usagi Yojimbo collections — a spectacular series brought to print by the late Kim Thompson. Here's a chance to meet one of America's most extraordinary artists. We'll have some seasonal Usagi treats in store for adoring fans.
Kim Thompson had an answer for a feature in the March, 1983 issue of Heavy Metal which asked just that question. Our own Kristy Valenti came across it and provided this scan.
It's interesting to revisit statements like this now. In terms of what Kim called "pop comics" his last couple of lines are oddly apropos now that 30 years later one of the most successful comic titles is a zombie comic.
As we approach our $200,000 stretch goal toward translating and publishing the European material that was left in the wake of Kim Thompson's untimely passing (which is what necessitated the campaign in the first place), and to show our gratitude on this day of giving thanks, we're turning a solo spotlight on the first "Kim book" to be rescheduled.
While no one can ever duplicate Kim as a translator, we're extraordinarily pleased that stepping into his shoes for this volume is Doug Headline, who happens to be the son of author Jean-Patrick Manchette, from whose work this book is adapted.
104-page black & white 7.25" x 10.5" hardcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-620-1
Following the acclaimed West Coast Blues and Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot, Jacques Tardi makes a third appointment with ace crime writer Jean-Patrick Manchette, full of pitch-black humor and a strong current of socio-political satire beneath its bleak surface. A rich industrialist hires a troubled young woman straight out of a psychiatric asylum to nanny his bratty son. But this seemingly altruistic impulse to help rehabilitate a troubled soul hides a darker motive: plans to stage a fake kidnapping of the child, using the nanny as a scapegoat. But things go horribly wrong, and now nanny and child are on the run, pursued both by the police and by a dangerous contract killer with a Terminator-like tenacity.
We had to again express our thanks when at about 6am PST on Tuesday, we hit $150,000 on our Kickstarter campaign for our 2014 Spring-Summer Season. We are thankful for your support, passing on the word to your friends and taking up that coveted shelf space over the years. Making our goal within a week was an unexpected surprise.
Since we have so many books still available for pre-order and some great 'warehouse finds' like the Dave Stevens' King Kong poster, a special Richard Sala premium (announcing soon....) and more, we have decided on our (first?!) stretch goal.
If we hit 200,000 we plan to: hire translators to help produce books that were previously scheduled and create an infrastructure to continue Kim Thompson's legacy of publishing the best bande dessinee.
So check those premiums out, we're updating all the time, adding extra signed books and scouring the recesses of our punk house-cum-office for cool things that can touch your alternative and indie comics lovin' heart.