The Stranger, one of our local alt-weeklies that shares many ties with Fantagraphics throughout the ages ran a tribute to Kim Thompson written by former employee Robert Boyd. Giving context to the comics world as the more commercial spoke the art world wheel, Boyd touches on Kim's job as a creative enabler and rabid music fan.
"Kim encouraged and cajoled many cartoonists to produce art they never otherwise would have dreamed possible. I imagine that if Fantagraphics had not been there in 1982, Jaime Hernandez might have gone on to a successful, respectable career as a penciller for Marvel and DC."
The late Kim Thompson introduced the world to Stan Sakai in Fantagraphics' Critters anthology three decades ago. As Sakai's signature character Usagi Yojimbo nears its 30-year anniversary, the Baltimore Comic-Con honors this exceptional artist at the Baltimore Convention Center on Saturday.
Sakai will greet fans at booth 1902 before appearing at the Usagi Yojimbo Celebration with Dark Horse editor Diana Schutz in room 301 from 2:00 to 3:00 PM. An exclusive Usagi Yojimbo tee shirt (pictured below) and yearbook featuring homages of the intrepid Samurai warrior by over 40 artists will be available at the convention. At 5:00 PM you can bid on the original art by Sakai and other contributors at booth 2505 in the Main Hall. Don't miss this opportunity to meet one of the world's most gifted cartoonists, not to mention one of the nicest people in our industry.
The latest, largest kaiju monsters of Online Commentaries and Criticism:
• Review:New Schoolin The A.V. Club. "Like Anders Nilsen, Dash Shaw has spent his career looking for a creatively profitable middle ground between high art and straightforward comics storytelling.…Shaw riffs on the popular culture of the ’90s and the politics of the ’00s, suggesting that the children of one decade grew up too cut off from reality to understand the part they played in fostering the global conflict of the next. The social commentary in New School provides a sharp accent to a formally daring, at times alarming coming-of-age tale," says Noel Murray.
• Review:New School in Paste Magazine. "Dash Shaw is a relentless experimenter, never content to rely on the processes and approaches that garnered him acclaim the last go-round…Shaw’s ability to confidently follow his muse without justifying any artistic approach is part of what makes him such an exciting voice, and one that continues to refine itself with this excellent book," wrote Hillary Brown.
• Review:Mental Floss on New School. "Dash Shaw is one of the new generation of exciting comic creators who exist in a nexus between comics and the New York contemporary art scene... A glance at the pages here shows a bold, unusual use of color that seems part Power Mastrs, part Asterios Polyp," writes Rich Barrett.
• Review:Comics Alliance reviews Dash Shaw's New School. John Parker writes, "New School is surreal, emotional, and delirious with color…Moving, innovative, and beautiful, it's hard to imagine you'd confuse the woozy, dreamsick, and explosively colored pages of New School for any other artist's, no matter what distance you're viewing them from."
• Interview (audio): Dash Shaw is interviewed on Robin McConnell's Inkstuds again!
• Plug:New School in The Austin American Statesmen. "on first read, it is melancholic, funny and smartly impressionistic, three things that comics do well…Dash Shaw likes to move through styles, and it’s exciting. As soon as you think you have a fix on his forms, he tweaks it just a bit," writes Joe Gross.
• Review:NPR lists Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life as one of the five touching comics of summer. "Lust's desire to experience real life and to learn things beyond books is by turns uplifting and painful, funny and frightening…The result is a modern coming-of-age story that addresses the thrills and consequences of being young, idealistic, and more than a little lucky," Myla Goldberg sums up.
• Review:The National Post on Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust. "Last Day is, essentially, a memoir of powerlessness, of how fruitless our attempts to shape our own lives can be - a fact often reflected in her lines, simple and crisp but frequently lost in the chaos of big scenes.…It's an honesty, intimate and universal, that comics capture better than any medium, and Lust's entry is an almost perfect instance," states David Berry.
• Review:Slant Magazine looks at Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust. Tim Peters says, "…it's spontaneous, sexual, and both cynically and internationally adventurous. It's also further proof that the graphic novel is going to dethrone the novel as the 21st century's preferred form for telling a story…A good way to think about Today Is the Last Day is as a kind of anti-Eat, Pray, Love."
• Plug:Cleaver Magazine on Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust. "…the beauty of this graphic memoir is in the way, image by image and line by line, it captures that yearning and its momentary fulfillments in the shapes of breathtaking, carefully drawn landscapes, or drawings that depict Ulli's surreal fantasies, like her body floating happily over the Spanish stairs," writes Tahneer Oksman
• Review:Cult Montreal enjoys Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust. "Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life is a gripping read that feels like a story a close friend might tell you after returning from a long voyage. Lust's lively illustration style and enthralling narrative voice make this graphic novel a feminist On the Road for the twenty-first century," writes Jeff Miller.
• Plug:Largehearted Boy lists Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust as one of the picks of the week "It's a frank, funny, occasionally brutal coming-of-age story…There's plenty of sex, drugs, and violence, though it's Lust's insight and sensitivity that really make it shine," writes The Librarie Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore.
Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life is a gripping read that feels like a story a close friend might tell you after returning from a long voyage. Lust’s lively illustration style and enthralling narrative voice make this graphic novel a feminist On the Road for the twenty-first century. - See more at: http://cultmontreal.com/2013/07/comics-review-ulli-lust-tom-gauld-joe-ollmann/#sthash.5LDUqr84.dpuf
Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life is a gripping read that feels like a story a close friend might tell you after returning from a long voyage. Lust’s lively illustration style and enthralling narrative voice make this graphic novel a feminist On the Road for the twenty-first century. - See more at: http://cultmontreal.com/2013/07/comics-review-ulli-lust-tom-gauld-joe-ollmann/#sthash.5LDUqr84.dpu
• Interview: Matt Seneca interviews Charles Forsman of The End of the Fucking World and being compared to Charles Schulz on Comics Alliance. "It is very much about being fucked-up when you are a teen and that should be a timeless idea. We all go through that. I guess the 80s thing is something that I use as an atmospheric reference for myself," says Forsman. "Forsman managed to do what even the most talented cartoonists often have difficulty with, fusing the honesty of presentation and uninflected realism native to classic alternative comics with the white-knuckle pace and jaw-clenching cliffhangers of the best action storytelling," writes Seneca.
• Interview: Chuck Forsman talks about mini-comics, schoolin' and The End of the Fucking World with Spurgeon on The Comics Reporter<. "I really enjoyed building something with smaller bricks. I guess that's how I've always thought of comics, breaking it down into scenes. Even when I'm just doing one book. I also like to mix the bricks up a bit." .
• Review: The New York Journal of Books enjoys Wake Up, Percy Gloom by Cathy Malkasian. "In a graphic novel filled with exceptional art, lush dreamscapes and characters of rich beauty, Ms. Malkasian brings simple moments to life that show us the depth of someone's heart," writes Mark Squirek. "Wake Up, Percy Gloom reminds us that every single moment is important because at any second apples may bloom and fall from the sky."
• Review:iFanboy on Wake Up, Percy Gloomby Cathy Malkasian. "Malkasian decorates the tale with surreal and absurd dressing (reminiscent of the land of Oz, more than anything else), and plots with twists and turns that are almost impossible to anticipate....If L Frank Baum, Jim Henson and, Jeff Smith wrote a comic together, it would feel (and look) a bit like Percy Gloom," writes Josh Christie.
• Review:The Comic Pusher looks at Wake Up, Percy Gloomby Cathy Malkasian. "Part cutting satire, part fairy tale, part nightmare…Wake Up, Percy Gloom! is another astonishing work from Malkasian, a beautiful and uplifting graphic novel filled with magic and loss and joy. Malkasian, a veteran animator and now highly accomplished cartoonist, once more delivers a work of startling power cementing herself as one of the most distinct and important voices in comics," pens Jeffrey O. Gustafson.
• Commentary: Jessica Lee report on The Beat about Cathy Malkasian's talk at the California College of Arts. "The amount of precision and undeniable heart Cathy puts into every ounce of her characters, panel construction, and worldbuilding is commendable, filling WAKE UP PERCY GLOOM with the kind of rare wonder that make it a gem in the pool of graphic novels…" writes Lee.
• Review:Eye of the Majestic Creature Vol. 2 by Leslie Stein is reviewed on VICE. "What Leslie does with her work is special. She seems largely influenced by newspaper comics, but her stories are subtle.…The core of this series seems to be about how uncomfortable it is to interact with other people and how lonely it can be in New York," says Nick Gazin.
• Review: Eye of the Majestic Creature Vol. 2 by Leslie Stein on Comics Bulletin. "Leslie Stein is a voice for a certain aspect of her generation, the ones you see feigning ironic detachment while inside they are either all honest excitement or vast empathy. While it's just so much easier and cooler not to get emotionally involved, for people like Stein, that's just really not possible," writes Daniel Elkin.
• Review:Good Dog by Graham Chaffee on Forbidden Planet International. "It's a brilliant little book, one I could quite cheerfully have read much more of, one that definitely left me wanting more…throughout the book, Chaffee paints the picture so vividly that you understand that dogs, just like us, are complicated beasts, and each has to find their own life," writes Richard Bruton.
• Review: The Hooded Utilitarian reviews Good Dog by Graham Chaffee. "Chaffee largely eschews panels which are filled with multifarious meaning and intricate correlations, adopting congenial, unsensational storytelling, evoking time, place and character; the gentle rhythms of a nostalgia associated with the early to mid twentieth century…The central questions being tackled here appear to be those of belief, ideology, and faith. A tangential discussion of deist philosophy may not be out of the question as well," writes Ng Suat Tong.
• Plug:Drawn Words on Good Dog by Graham Chaffee. "Good Dog is absolutely one of the most interesting comics of the year…Ivan's struggle as a stray is parallel to everyday human interaction and quest for personal fulfillment, exploring animal psychology in the simplest way Chaffee can possibly explain, while simultaneously maintaining a strong grip of emotion," muses Kevin Cortez.
• Review:The End by Anders Nilsen on The A.V. Club. "This is a book from comics' more avant-garde wing, and a premier example of how to make experimental work that still connects broadly, rather than coming across as self-indulgent vamping," writes Noel Murray.
• Plug:New York 1 on The End\ by Anders Nilsen. "…this beautiful creation explores grief and life, unanswered questions and unquestioned thought," states Andrew Losowsky.
• Interview: Alex Dueben of CBR interviews Kim Deitch on The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley, process and the inclusion of beavers. "Well, when you read around in old fiction there is a whole genre of stuff that you might categorize as "hollow earth" stories. You know, hidden teeming civilizations deep within the earth.…The almost human workaholic activities of beavers seemed like a potentially good fit to a story of that kind," answered Deitch.
• Review:The National Post reviews Lost Cat. "Jason is one of the few artists (or writers) who can make existential aches seem droll, but it makes the smiles being provoked feel as honest as the ones we get when standing across from someone who makes the world feel a little less lonely," muses David Barry.
• Review:Comics Alliance gives Jason's Lost Cat the whatfor! "If you're familiar with Jason's previous work, you know his mastery of minimalist storytelling is what drives his art. His anthropomorphic, near emotionless characters, along with his consistent four panel page layouts, are his signature," writes Joseph Hughes.
• Review:Comics Bulletin looks at Jason's Lost Cat. "In a way it asks us to consider what is more meaningful, actually connecting or the longing to connect in the first place…Jason is an artist of a high caliber and reading Lost Cat confirms this. He creates in isolation, ruminates about our inability to connect, and, by doing so, brings us together," writes Daniel Elkin.
• Plug:Lost Cat is on Publishers Weekly Picks of the Week. "A humorous PI story populated by animals takes a turn toward the absurd in the newest-and longest yet-graphic novel by Jason."
Review: iFanboy on Bread & Wine by Samuel Delany and Mia Wolff. "The book is short...but packs some serious punch. Lots of the credit can go to Mia Wolff, whose black-and-white pen work adds some serious grittiness to the story. The only thing I love more than a good love story is a good atypical love story, and Bread & Wine fits the bill nicely," writes Josh Christie.
• Review:Bread & Wine by Samuel Delany and Mia Wolff on Sequential Tart<. "The story itself is intimate and at times awkward to read, which makes it feel very real and personal. Delany doesn't shy away from some of the less-appealing moments in the relationship...Bread & Wine is an unusual offering, and certainly won't be to everyone's taste, but it's certainly worth a read now that it's widely available and reasonably priced," writes Katie Frank.
• Review:Bread &Wine by Samuel Delany and Mia Wolff was reviewed on Comics Grinder. "This graphic novel, originally published in 1999, springs from a memoir and stands alone as engaging and insightful...For a book that promises an erotic tale, there are even more scenes that speak to the great divide between the two men which they will either struggle with or overcome," wrote Henry Chamberlain, Comics Grinder
• Plug:Bread & Wine by Samuel Delany and Mia Wolff on Largehearted Boy. "With Alan Moore contributing an introduction and Neil Gaiman and Junot Diaz (and Frank Miller in case that still means something to anyone) singing its praises, you know Bread & Wine has something special going on," says Benn from Atomic Books.
• Plug:Publishers Weekly on Hip Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor. Maurice Boyer details the creative process: "each strip [is] a full week affair in which he spends a day of research and writing immersed in books, videos or interviews in search of inspiration for the week's strip. From there, he spends the rest of the week drawing his pages by hand and coloring them on the computer."
• Interview:Julia Gfrӧrer is interviewed on The Beat by Zainab Ahktar. "I like writing for a contemporary setting, but a contemporary mermaid story would be kind of a hard sell, it feels unpleasantly whimsical to me, so for that reason Black is the Color had to be set in the past." nbsp;
• Review:HIV+ on 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook. "It can be difficult to remember in 2013, just how despised gays were and just how oblivious the rest of society seemed to the AIDS epidemic in those dark days.… But 7 Miles a Second captures the rage and impotence felt by thousands of young gay men who were suddenly faced with the brutal finality of death," writes Jacob Anderson-Minshall.
• Review:Hyperallergic on 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook.. "Wojnarowicz…didn’t win the great game of life; they lost bitterly. To hear about those losses firsthand, to watch them unfold in words that essentially position us as front-row spectators, is devastating.…If there’s another theme in 7 Miles a Second, one that counteracts the weight of the body, it must be motion. Evident in both the form and content of the text, motion offers the promise of escape," writes Jillian Steinhauer.
• Commentary:MSN ran a story about the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee and the In Case We Die reading & signing by Danny Bland. "Bland read a passage about the first time the book's main character and his teenaged girlfriend shoot up - a degenerate scene redolent of hindsight romanticizing. Packed inside the bookstore, the audience roared approval. Only in Seattle."
• Interview:The Weekings' Joe Daly (a different one!) interviews Danny Bland on In Case We Die and getting clean, "Well, the catalyst for me getting clean was the classic tale of running out of resources. I did drugs until I ran out of money, and friends to steal from, and eventually the criminal element that I became involved with became too hot." Read more about these adventures in In Case We Die!
• Review:Forbidden Planet International on Jacques Tardi's Goddamn This War! "This is going straight into my own collection, and in my opinion every decent graphic novel collection needs some Tardi in it, he is one of the great masters of the medium," sums up Joe Gordon.
• Review: The French Embassy outlines Goddamn This War!"Goddamn This War! shares with [It Was the War of the] Trenches its sustained sense of outrage, pitch-black gallows humor, and impeccably scrupulous historical exactitude."
• Review:Washington Post on Barnaby by Crockett Johnson. "A whole new generation now will have the opportunity to become acquainted with Johnson's influential creation...Liberals may love Barnaby, but there is no reason why conservatives and libertarians can't admire the beauty, simplicity, wittiness and intelligence of this groundbreaking strip, too," posits Michael Taube.
• Review: Barnaby by Crockett Johnson reviewed by The A.V. Club<. "With Barnaby, Johnson combined low-impact serialized adventure with some gentle comedy based around the ways that adults and kids diverge in their perspectives. The result is a compulsively readable strip with a winningly off-kilter point-of-view-and a cultural treasure that's been long-overdue for this kind of prestige archival project..." posits Noel Murray.
• Plug:Mental Floss on Barnaby by Crockett Johnson. "It mixed fantasy, satire and political commentary and its humor was often very subtle. So subtle that its popularity was limited compared to most strips of the day. Editors Eric Reynolds and Philip Nel have taken great pains to annotate many of the topical references that were made to help new readers appreciate what Barnaby's small but devoted readership enjoyed at the time," pens Rich Barrett.
• Review: Comics Worth Reading flips through Mickey Mouse Color Sundays by Floyd Gottfredson. "The lighter approach makes this book a better choice to share with your young ones. They should love the timeless highjinks of the mouse and his friends. And anyone can appreciate the skilled cartooning and astounding art, so well-done it almost seems to move on paper," writes Johanna Draper Carlson.
• Review:Robot 6 on Mickey Mouse Color Sundays by Floyd Gottfredson. "What I really took away from this book, however, was Gottfredson's considerable (and very nuanced) compositional and storytelling skills...an entertaining read and still a thrill to see what Gottfredson work out and then master this longer styled-format. Disney fans - or just fans of solid, entertaining comics in general - won't be disappointed."
• Review: The Complete Syndicated Pogo Vol.2 "Bona Fide Balderdash" by Walt Kelly receives a 5 outta 5 stars from Comics Bulletin. "The world of those delightful characters feels tremendously lavish and vivid. Kelly's strip came from an era of deep graphical inventiveness…This book is pure magic, suitable for both a fourth grade teacher and a fourth grader," muses Jason Sacks.
• Review:Page 45 on Love and Rockets: The Companion edited by Marc Sobel and Kristy Valenti. "Best of all, however, are the interviews, so utterly addictive that I almost missed my review deadline…Editor Marc Sobel's interview with Los Bros Hernandez delivers some astonishing insights into the cycle of each story's conception, execution, then complete burned-out numbness in Jaime... and workaholic Gilbert's crippling self-doubt halfway through each chapter early on," states Stephen L. Holland.
• Review:Spectrum Culture enjoys Hal Foster's Prince Valiant 6: 1947-1948. "Readers unfamiliar with the Prince Valiant strip owe it to themselves to take a look. The stories encapsulate the values of a simpler, less cynical time, and the illustrations are first-rate," writes David Maine.
• Plug: An odd but fun article on Love and Rockets and baseball on The Good Phight. "It's odd, Jaime's stories in L&R, collected in the massive Locas collections, are kind of geek treasure troves. Clearly Jaime is influenced by punk and 80's alt California, but he's also really into superheroes, luchadores, and monster movies, so you get this weird melange of nostalgia for all of this old nerd culture."
• Commentary: Deb Aoki reports on Best/Worst Manga Panel at SDCC 2013. Moto Hagio's The Heart of Thomas is listed as Best New Manga for Kids/Teens. Wandering Son by Shimura Takako is listed on Best Continuing Series for Kids/Teens. And finally Inio Asano's Nijigahara Holograph lands on the Most Anticipated New Manga list.
• Review: Wandering Son Vol. 4 is reviewed on Experiments in Manga. "As nostalgic as Wandering Son can be, the middle school years haven't been idealized in the series.…Wandering Son is more about characters than a linear plot, but the fourth volume is an important setup for what comes next in the series," says Ash Brown.
• Review:School Library Journal looks at Willard Mullin's Golden Age of Baseball and how it is applicable in the classroom! "student sports fans (in this case, baseball fans specifically) can leverage their outside-of-school literacies to comprehend and appreciate the sophisticated cartoons and high-level text in Willard Mullin’s Golden Age of Baseball," says Peter Gutierrez.
• Review:Full Stop is pleased with the Fantagraphics' EC Comics Library. "It's fitting that Fantagraphics - long-time champion of the rights and importance of comics creators, and re-issuer important historical comics - would arrange a publishing line this way. Even though it may not be surprising, it's still a commendable decision. It's also an important development in further establishing comics as art and literature worthy of serious consideration and study.… It presents work by EC’s most important artists, drawing the work from across all EC titles," states Sam Costello.
• Review:Comics Bulletin] >on 50 Girls 50 by Al Williamson. It "is an affordable means of acquiring a pleasingly complete collection of this seminal work by a seminal artist."
• Plug: Boing Boing delights in The Littlest Pirate King by David B. "So, it's a little grim. But it's also gorgeous…If you liked the premise of Neil Gaiman's award-winning Graveyard Book, you're sure to love this, but be aware that it's much a darker and sadder story than Gaiman's. I think this is probably suited to kids eight or nine and up…" suggests Cory Doctorow.
• Review: Jason Sacks on the Comics Bulletin gives Donald Duck: The Old Castle's Secret by Carl Barks the run down. "This book is an absolutely delightful assortment of stories, a thoroughly charming, delightful collection of vivid stories full of clever wordplay and slapstick action…Barks tells the story in ways that have to delight any reader.The more I read of Barks's comics, the more I come to love them."
Thousands of music fans descended on Georgetown on Friday for Honk Fest West. The festivities began outside Fantagraphics Bookstore with a touching tribute to Kim Thompson and ended with an epic battle between the Seattle Seahawk Blue Thunder drumline and Portland's Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers. Next up is the sensational Sub Pop Silver Jubilee on July 13.
Fantagraphics co-publisher Kim Thompson died at 6:30 this morning, June 19. "He was my partner and close friend for 36 years," said Gary Groth.
Thompson was born in Denmark in 1956. He grew up in Europe, a lifelong comics fan, reading both European and American comics in Denmark, France, and Germany. He was an active fan in his teen years, writing to comics — his letters appeared in Marvel's letter columns circa early 1970s — and contributing to fanzines from his various European perches. At the age of 21, he set foot, for the first time as an adult, on American soil, in late 1977 (he lived briefly in the U.S. as a child in twice in the late '50s and early '60s). One "fanzine" he had not contributed to was The Comics Journal, which Groth and Michael Catron began publishing in July of 1976. That was soon to change.
"Within a few weeks of his arrival," said Groth, "he came over to our 'office,' which was the spare bedroom of my apartment, and was introduced by a mutual friend — it was a fan visit. We were operating out of College Park, Maryland and Kim's parents had moved to Arlington, Virginia, both Washington DC suburbs. Kim loved the energy around the Journal and the whole idea of a magazine devoted to writing about comics, and asked if he could help. We needed all the help we could get, of course, so we gladly accepted his offer. He started to come over every day and was soon camping out on the floor. The three of us were living and breathing The Comics Journal 24 hours a day."
Thompson became an owner when Catron took a job at DC Comics in 1978. As he became more familiar with the editorial process, Thompson became more and more integral to the magazine, assembling and writing news and conducting interviews with professionals. Thompson's career in comics began here.
In 1981, Fantagraphics began publishing comics (such as Jack Jackson's Los Tejanos, Don Rosa's Comics and Stories, and, in 1982, Love and Rockets). Thompson was always evangelical about bandes dessinées and wanted to bring the best of European comics to America; in 1981, Thompson selected and translated the first of many European graphic novels for American publication — Herman Huppen's The Survivors: Talons of Blood (followed by a 2nd volume in 1983). Thompson's involvement in The Comics Journal diminished in 1982 when he took over the editorship of Amazing Heroes, a bi-weekly magazine devoted to more mainstream comics (with occasional forays into alternative and even foreign comics). Thompson helmed Amazing Heroes through 204 issues until 1992.
Among Thompson's signature achievements in comics were Critters, a funny-animal anthology that ran from 50 issues between 1985 to 1990 and is perhaps best known for introducing the world to Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo; and Zero Zero, an alternative comics anthology that also ran for 50 issues over five years — between 1995 and 2000 — and featured work by, among others, Kim Deitch, Dave Cooper, Al Columbia, Spain Rodriguez, Joe Sacco, David Mazzuchelli, and Joyce Farmer. His most recent enthusiasm was spearheading a line of European graphic novel translations, including two major series of volumes by two of the most significant living European artists — Jacques Tardi (It Was the War of the Trenches, Like a Sniper Lining up His Shot, The Astonishing Exploits of Lucien Brindavoine) and Jason (Hey, Wait..., I Killed Adolf Hitler, Low Moon, The Left Bank Gang) — and such respected work as Ulli Lust's Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life, Lorenzo Mattotti's The Crackle of the Frost, Gabriella Giandelli's Interiorae, and what may be his crowning achievement as an editor/translator, Guy Peelaert's The Adventures of Jodelle.
Throughout his career at Fantagraphics, Thompson was active in every aspect of the company, selecting books, working closely with authors, guiding books through the editorial and production process. "Kim leaves an enormous legacy behind him," said Groth, "not just all the European graphic novels that would never have been published here if not or his devotion, knowledge, and skills, but for all the American cartoonists he edited, ranging from Stan Sakai to Joe Sacco to Chris Ware, and his too infrequent critical writing about the medium. His love and devotion to comics was unmatched. I can't truly convey how crushing this is for all of us who've known and loved and worked with him over the years."
Thompson was diagnosed with lung cancer in late February. He is survived by his wife, Lynn Emmert, his mother and father, Aase and John, and his brother Mark.
The coldest Dip'n'Dots of Online Commentaries & Marketing:
• Interview: Comic Book Resources and Alex Dueben interview Peter Bagge about Other Stuff and his favorite collaborations in the book, "The earliest one in the book, "Life in These United States," didn't come out looking at all like I had envisioned it…what Clowes did with it was truly remarkable. Also, Gilbert [Hernandez] radically changed the faces, ages and even genders of almost everyone in the "Me" strip. That threw me for a loop! Though it didn't negatively impact the story in the slightest."
• Review:The A.V. Club looks at Peter Bagge's Other Stuff. "Other Stuff also brings together strips Bagge has written about rock icons, along with a few cartoon essays, and strips featuring his characters Lovey and The Leeways, who respectively represent hipster adventurism and dogged domesticity. It’s a full picture of who Bagge has been as an artist and humorist over the past 20 years, and as such is as valuable for newcomers as fans…" writes Noel Murray.
• Interview:Peter Bagge is interviewed on Societe Perrierby Christian J Petersen on comics, Seattle and growing up clever. "Did your parents encourage your creativity? No, though they didn't discourage it. They were drunk."
• Review:The Quietus looks at The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert and Pierre Bartier. Aug Stone writes, "Jodelle is fantastic in every sense of the word, filled with in-jokes and time-defying references, nudity and sex (not always coinciding), exaggerated violence, but most importantly a sense of pushing the edges of possibility…The original Pop Art comic and one of the first ‘adult comics’ (released a year after Barbarella by same publisher Eric Losfeld), Jodelle is an artistic tour de force."
• Review: Bookgasm looks at The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert. "…let the fleshy neon visuals explode into your eyeballs.…It won’t have the same impact today, as many of its visual ideas have been appropriated and subverted into the mainstream culture, but as both a time capsule of its era and as a visually stunning romp, it remains a unique experience that should certainly be at least sampled by any adventurous modern reader of comics. Playfully provocative, funny and smart, THE ADVENTURES OF JODELLE pops with a soft-lined splash of lurid color," writes JT Lindroos.
• Review: It's Nice That and look at The Adventures of Jodelle. "Peellaert was every bit the master of his craft and with enviable vision and flair managed to transform a previously safe medium into something exciting and dangerous…It’s intoxicating stuff!" exclaims James Cartwright.
• Interview:HeroesOnline and Seth Peagler interview Ed Piskor about comics, music and Hip Hop Family Tree. Piskor states, "There were some interesting things to look at while writing the book. It’s necessary to know the political/economic climate at the time. The fine art scene plays an integral role in the development of early Hip Hop as well, which many people might not know. If it wasn’t for the downtown scene gravitating toward graffiti culture it could have all died out in the early 80s."
• Review:I Reads You reads Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 by Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez. Leroy Douresseaux writes, "This publishing format is designed to appeal to the people who decide what will make the shelves of bookstores.…this is another volume of New Stories which proves that Love and Rockets is as strong as ever and is ready for 30 more great years."
• Review:Kotaku's roundtable discuss what they did and didn't like about Julio's Day by Gilbert Hernandez. Evan Narcisse posits "I did like how the family lived on the fringes of the 20th Century. It reminded me A LOT of Gabriel Garcia Marquez' 100 Years of Solitude. The weird almost-incest, characters with the same names and weird proclivities, home-as-a-black-hole-you-can't-escape, the outside world as an exotic dangerous place, nature as this karmic equalizer …"
• Interview: Nicole Rudick of The Comics Journal interviews James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook about 7 Miles A Second and their creative life together. James mentions, "…it is about empathy, the only thing we have that allows us to touch each other. So if there’s anything positive to be taken out of the book, it’s that we should be working toward a more empathetic experience while we’re on the planet."
• Review:Comic Book Resources looks at 50 Girls 50 by Al Williamson. "It’s interesting seeing how different some of the artwork is – Williamson liked science fiction, apparently, and was occasionally bored with the other stories William Gaines or Al Feldstein gave him, but there’s no story here that doesn’t at least offer something sublime…Fantagraphics has done a really nice job bringing a lot of the 1940s/1950s stuff back into print, and if they keep picking such cool stuff like this, I’ll just have to keep buying it!" exclaims Greg Burgas.
• Review:Spectrum Culture looks at'Tain't the Meat by Jack Davis. "Davis was a phenomenal draftsman whose dynamic line work could imbue even static scenes with restless energy, and whose clean but detailed layouts could bring to life queasiness-inducing tableaux of rotting corpses and piled intestines…Al Feldstein and Carl Wessler wrote the lion’s share of these tales and had a knack for mixing cruel irony and creeping dread.…EC has been gone for decades now, but volumes like this help ensure that its influence won’t be forgotten." writes David Maine.
• Review:The Portland Mercury on Dash Shaw's New School. "The experience of reading New School is like temporarily inhabiting the body and brain of an artist: This is what growing up might feel like for someone who lives and breathes colors and shapes," writes Allison Hallett. "It's heady, hallucinatory, and bizarre, but it's grounded in the simple experience of growing up in the shadow of a beloved older sibling."
• Interview: Societe Perrier by Christian J Petersen interview Johnny Ryan. "You seem to be exploring a darkside in your work but you soften the blow with humor. What would your real darkside look like?Prison Pit. "
• Plug: Duckburg Weekly looks at Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death ValleyandMickey Mouse Volume 2: Trapped on Treasure Island by Floyd Gottfredson. "With Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Classic Collection Fantagraphics Books published a must-have for everyone who's interested in early works of the Walt Disney Company!…[Vol. 1]offers amazing articles about the 'birth' of Mickey Mouse, bonus panels which were never published and different artists in the spotlight (such as Al Taliaferro and Jack King)…Again [in Vol. 2] there is a chapter with incredible bonus material which informs about the villains, Floyd's colleagues and additional comic strips."
• Interview:It's Nice That and James Cartwright interviewed Anders Nilsen about The End, coming out in print this fall. "…some of it is pretty raw, and that’s how I felt at the time. Some of it is funny, too, I think, which is also part of the experience. It can feel very absurd at times. If it feels like a crazy emotional roller coaster to read, then it’s doing the job."
• Review:The Comics Journal reviewed the Kolor Klimaxanothology, edited by Matthias Wivel. Robert Kirby writes, "I found myself drawn back to each several times…That, for me, is the common vibe generated by this and other Euro-comics anthologies: the sense of possibility and novelty that comes from having available a whole new frontier of previously hard-to-come-by alt-comics by accomplished artists to explore. Comics speak a universal, intuitive language, but this 'Nordic Hypnotica' opens Americans up to previously unfamiliar dialects that are a pleasure to read, enjoy, and occasionally decode."
• Review:Kitty Sneezes looks at Drew and Josh Alan Friedman'sAny Similarity to Persons Living or Dead is Purely Coincidental. "Shemp acts both as a beacon of Drew Friedman's amazing artistic skill, but also as a signpost of what you'll find.…strips starring the semi-forgotten figures of old media. Figures like Abbott & Costello, Chet Huntley, Joe Franklin or Tor Johnson come up frequently. I especially love the Tor strips. And usually, though there's a surrealist bent like you'd find in the work of Michael Kupperman, there's usually a sense of love for the work of these people" writes Rev. Syung Myung Me.
We love all of our books but are especially happy for the creators of the Eisner-nominated books. You can vote until June 12 online. If you haven't read all of them, check 'em out individually or via our list!
Still no sure which to read? Heidi MacDonald, Cal Reid and company discuss the nominations on the Publishers Weekly podcast. Meanwhile, Chris Sims, Matt D. Wilson and more of War Rocket Ajax discuss the nominations, although I'm not sure how long the podcast will be up at this link.
Some of the nominations gather in our mail room. See you in JULY!
The longest, unabridged edition of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: The Village Voice is almost hospitalized while reading Michael Kupperman's Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2. "Kupperman heaps absurdity upon absurdity…The result is a jubilant rococo, the strips all thrilling ornamentation…No exaggeration: I coughed hot soup out of my nose while reading the new hardbound volume of deadpan dadaist Michael Kupperman…" states Alan Scherstuhl.
• Review: Comic Book Resources looks at Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2 by Michael Kupperman. Brian Cronin loves the Moon 69 story. "The devolution of the ads as the story continues might be my favorite part…The second collection of Kupperman’s individual Thrizzle issues JUST came out and it includes [Moon 69]! So go buy it, dammit!"
• Review:Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2byMichael Kuppermanshines at The AV Club. "Kupperman's work only gets funnier when read in bulk... Kupperman's comics take pre-existing popular culture-TV shows, advertising, other comics-and tweak them just a little until they become hilariously absurd," states Noel Murray.
• Review: Glen Weldon reviews The Comics Journal #302 on New Republic, exclusively the Maurice Sendak interview conducted by Gary Groth. "Why on earth would I want to read 100 pages of caustic carping? Because Sendak is funny. Deeply, passionately so. Read in full, Sendak’s zingers lose their venom and evince a sincere and surprising warmth. He comes off as bitter, but not embittered—a fine distinction, perhaps, but a real one."
• Plug:USA Today's Pop Candy mentions TCJ #302. "This week I've been reading the wonderful (and massive) issue No. 302, which contains a huge Maurice Sendak tribute as well as his final interview"
• Revew: Chris Estey of KEXP writes on some of our new titles like The Comics Journal #302, edited by Gary Groth, Kristy Valenti and Michael Dean. "Probably my favorite single issue magazine of 2013, it is actually a freakily-elevated edition of the long-running only-trustable trade magazine devoted to comics…it gives us a chance to sample the gamut of an ever-evolving and surprisingly inspiring art-form."
• Revew: Chris Estey of KEXP reviews our newest book of music criticism The Grammar of Rockby Alexander Theroux. "Ripping through this hilarious rage on banality and unexpected pleasures I thought, they don’t make writers like this anymore…Drop that boring band biography and fetch this, if only for the mountains of lists of rarely-heard missing gems he has sampled and tasted beforehand for you."
• Review: Pop Matters has to tune into The Grammar of Rock by Alexander Theroux. John L. Murphy writes, "Naturally, the fun of The Grammar of Rock lies in its acerbic prose as well as its aesthetic insight…You’ll either laugh or you won’t. I laughed."
• Review:Washington Independent Review of Books also looks at Alexander Theroux's The Grammar of Rock. "Reading Alexander Theroux’s The Grammar of Rock is like hitching a ride with a suspiciously awake truck driver who talks endlessly for hours…All in all, this book is a very cold love letter," says DJ Randy Cepuch.
• Plug: Wired runs 10 sketches by Janet Hamlin featured in her upcoming book,Sketching Guantanamo. Hamlin remembers sketching Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, "He would turn and pose — a deliberate turn, facing me, holding very steady."
• Review:Julio's Day by Gilbert Hernandez gets reviewed on on The AV Club. "Julio's Day(Fantagraphics) is as much about what's not on the page as what is...Fashions, mores, and technologies change; but desires and disappointments do not," writes Noel Murray.
• Review:Nerds of a Feather give an outstanding rating and review a recent reprint of Jack Jackson's work. Philippe Duhart writes, "Los Tejanos and Lost Cause are the products of serious historical research, and as such they are clear exhibitions of comics' potential as a viable media for academic and journalistic work…I appreciate that Johnson sticks with the perspective of the “losers” -- Juan Seguin's struggles against racism following Texas’ rebellion and Texan Confederates' struggle to regain a sense of honor following the defeat of their cause."
• Review:Fingers on Blast reads Linda Medley's Castle Waiting Vol. 1. "The tales weave their way together seamlessly thanks to Medley's art. There is no simple way to describe it, but to say it draws you ever deeper into the story."
• Revew: Chris Estey of KEXP writes on some of our new titles Peter Bagge's Other Stuffwhich" features Bagge doing some sharp-witted journalism (on comedy festivals, especially) and historical stories…it is an electric, howlingly funny, bona-fide classic mangle of manic music history, prickly satire, and perfectly rendered cartooning."
• Review:Novi Magazine picks apart feminist storytelling in Moto Hagio's The Heart of Thomas. "While Thomas depicts male characters, Hagio codes femininity into every element of the story, with every effort towards drawing in her assumedly female audience…" writes Dan Morrill.
•Review:BookDragon plugs The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio. "…it’s certainly proved its lasting effects. Never mind the rockets, sometimes turbulent feelings can take you much, much further…" writes Terry Hong.
• Plug:Comics Forge is looking foward to The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert as much as we are! "This was one of the trend setting 1960’s comics that you will see echoed worldwide during that time and when this style of pop art was raging as the most important thing since sex was invented…It looks like it is going to be a beautiful book, like most of the books that Fantagraphics puts out, you can feel the love."
• Review:Scoop covers Buz Sawyer Vol. 2: Sultry's Tiger by Roy Crane in one hell of a history lesson on newspaper and adventure comics. "Buz Sawyer may be the peak of the adventure strip as a genre…Crane’s ability to walk a fine line between hyper-realism while still incorporating an easy to read and understand style places him among the greats in comic history," says Mark Squirek.
• Review:Scoop covers Mort Meskin's Out of the Shadows. "He is so skilled at body language that without reading a single word you can see the kid’s enthusiasm for his grandfather’s story grow across the first three panels,"writes Mark Squirek.
• Interview: Comic Book Resources and Alex Dueben interview Tom Kacyznski about his books. Kacyznski says, "There's an easy willingness to imagine the collapse of everything instead of small changes in the political system that could fix a lot of the problems that we're having. Those kinds of themes interest me."
• Review:Beta Testing the Apocalypse by Tom Kaczynski gets a look-see on B-Sides & Rarities. Elizabeth Simins writes, "Kaczynski’s style involves a pretty dedicated commitment to setting scenes with lyrical descriptions as much as imagery, which is something I associate with the space between “regular” fiction and comics…You should read it."
• Review:Grovel reviews The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver. "It’s a surprising but fascinating insight into the psyche of a man that outsiders would normally assume to be a sort of political superhuman, but Sciver adds depth and soul to the two-dimensional image of the man with half a beard and a top hat," penned Andy Shaw.
• Review:Comic Pusher enjoys their read of Chris Wright's new book: "In Black Lung Wright presents a world of ceaseless violence and pain, his reflectively brutal cartooning interwoven with elegiac prose, with the very syntax of comic storytelling breaking down under the memory and transformative agony of loss and obsession," says Jeffrey O. Gustafson.
• Plug: Jade at D&Q Bookstore digs into Your Vigor for Life Appalls Me by R. Crumb. "The extraordinary title is only matched by the incredible insight into the iconoclast’s mind and the ultra-snazzy portrait of an early Crumb on the cover, sporting a corduroy jacket and tie…A definite must-read for any Crumb fan."
• Review:The Comics Journal digs Black is the Color by Julia Gfrörer. Sean T. Collins writes, "Gfrörer’s most moving comic to date, Black Is the Color eroticizes suffering not to glamorize it, but to endure it."
• Interview: Robin McConnell interviews Julia Gfrörer about her webcomic and soon-to-be-in-print book,Black is the Color on Inkstuds.
• Review: Comics Bulletin loves Charles Forsman's The End of the Fucking World. Geoffrey Lapid writes "Instead of allowing you to step back and look at James and Alyssa through wistful adult hindsight, Forsman's fluid and subdued linework take us right into those moments that you only understand when you're 17 years-old, proudly oblivious and doomed…James and Alyssa feel like real, substantial characters rather than simple broad strokes alluding to a deeper history."
• Interview: Ed Piskor is interviewed by Jackie Mantey for Columbus Alive during his Ohio art residency and on Hip Hop Family Tree. "The purity of intent is something that’s important to me with anything I come across," Piskor believes.
• Interview: Kelli Korducki interviews Jaime Hernandez on behalf of Hazlitt about Love and Rockets. Jaime answers, "I like the way women react to situations. Guys in a certain situation mostly try to keep it cool, keep their cover, keep things in control. With a lot of women I know, you get eight different reactions to a situation."
• Review: Jon Longhi looks at Spain Rodriguez in Having a Book Moment.Cruisin' with the Hound, a recent collection, is "it's all gang fights, hot rods, teenage mayhem and its wonderfully entertaining and beautifully illustrated."
Kim Thompson has been my partner at Fantagraphics Books for 35 years. He's contributed vastly and selflessly to this company and to the comics medium and worked closely with countless fine artists over that time. This is a tough announcement to make, but everyone who knows Kim knows he's a fighter and we remain optimistic that he'll get through this and report back to work, where he belongs, doing what he loves.
– Gary Groth
I'm sure that by now a number of people in the comics field who deal with me on a regular or semi-regular basis have noticed that I've been responding more spottily. This is because of ongoing health issues for the past month, which earlier this week resolved themselves in a diagnosis of lung cancer.
This is still very early in the diagnosis, so I have no way of knowing the severity of my condition. I'm relatively young and (otherwise) in good health, and my hospital is top-flight, so I'm hopeful and confident that we will soon have the specifics narrowed down, set me up with a course of treatment, proceed, and lick this thing.
It is quite possible that as treatment gets underway I'll be able to come back in and pick up some aspects of my job, maybe even quite soon. However, in the interests of keeping things rolling as smoothly as I can, I've transferred all my ongoing projects onto other members of the Fantagraphics team. So if you're expecting something from me, contact Gary Groth, Eric Reyolds, or Jason Miles and they can hook you up with whoever you need. If there are things that only I know and can deal with, lay it out for them and they'll contact me.
On behalf of Kim, we would like to encourage anyone who would like to reach out to him to feel free to send mail to him c/o Fantagraphics Books, 7563 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115, or email.
The newly formatted, 600+ page Comics Journal proved a resounding success with 2011’s edition. 2012’s Volume 302 is sure to prove just as essential and exciting to comics readers worldwide.
This edition’s cover feature is a long, intimate interview-portrait with and of Maurice Sendak, the greatest and most successful children’s book author of the 20th — and 21st — century, the author of Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, Outside Over There, Higglety Piggelty Pop, and the illustrator of works by Herman Melville, Leo Tolstoy, and Randall Jarrell. In his longest published interview (and one of the last before his death in 2012), Sendak looks back over a career spanning over 60 years and talks to Gary Groth about art, life, and death (especially death), how his childhood, his parents, and his siblings affected his art and outlook, his search for meaning — and also, on the lighter side, about his love (and hate) of movies. And his unbridled comments on the political leadership of the previous decade have already garnered national media attention and controversy.
Sharing equal billing in this issue's flip-book format: Kim Thompson conducts a career-spanning interview with French graphic novel pioneer Jacques Tardi. The two explore the Eisner Award-winner’s genre-spanning oeuvre comprising historical fiction, action-adventure, crime-thriller, “icepunk” and more, focusing on Tardi's working methods (with step by step illustration), collaborations and other media (such as film and animation), and his fascination with World War I. Plus, Matthias Wivel examines Tardi's adaptation of Léo Malet's 120, Rue de la Gare.
Also in this issue, Art Spiegelman conducts a wide-ranging aesthetic colloquy on classic kids’ comics (Carl Barks’s Donald Duck, John Stanley’s Little Lulu, Sheldon Mayer’s Sugar and Spike, and many more) with a group of comics critics and historians. Bob Levin provides a revelatory investigation of the twisted history of the "Keep on Truckin’" litigation and a fascinating biographical portrait of R. Crumb’s lawyer, Albert Morse. Warren Bernard writes a ground-breaking historical investigation of the 1954 Senate Subcommittee Hearing on Juvenile Delinquency. R.C. Harvey looks at Bill Hume's Babysan and Donald Phelps examines Percy Crosby's Skippy. And a tribute to the late Dylan Williams from his peers and the artists he published.
Plus: “How to Draw Buz Sawyer” by renowned newspaper cartoonist Roy Crane (and a previously unpublished interview), a new comic by Joe Sacco and one by Lewis Trondheim in English for the first time, Tim Kreider on Chester Brown, Tom Crippen on Mort Weisinger and Superman, Rich Kreiner on "difficult comics," and a visual gallery of and commentary on proto-comics.
The Comics Journal has been for 37 years the world’s foremost critical magazine about comics. It is now more vital than ever, a gigantic print compendium of critiques, interviews, and comics.