RIP Kim Thompson

Yesterday I put in my Previews order. Total damage was only about thirty bucks, even with my recent HeroesCon experience giving my comics enthusiasm a shot in the arm.

Previews comes with a separate catalog just for stuff from Marvel. Every month I toss it out without looking at it, and if DCBS would let me not get it, that would save some trouble and paper. I don’t look at the DC section of Previews much either, except for occasionally buying some Silver Age collection. I linger on Dark Horse a bit, mostly for Hellboy/BPRD trades I’m increasingly less interested in, and I always look at Image for some reason, even though anything I buy from them I buy digitally.

But Fantagraphics…that’s pretty much the first place in the catalog I really stop and look over. Here are some things I didn’t buy out of this month’s offerings: Safe Area Gorazde, Left Bank Gang, Palestine, Beta Testing the Apocalypse, The Complete Peanuts. I didn’t buy them because I already have them. I’ve given Fantagraphics a lot of cash in the past and hope to give them more in the future. (I did buy Love and Rockets: New Stories #6 and No Straight Lines is on my “Want to Read” list.) Fantagraphice takes up only two pages a month in Previews but for me, they’re possibly the two most important pages. They’re where I’ve found Jason, Joe Sacco, Los Bros Hernandez, Jim Woodring, Dan Clowes, Kevin Huizenga, and plenty of others. And on top of that, there’s the great old stuff they collect and reprint.

It’s a fantastic publisher and the true force — not The Dark Knight Returns or Watchmen — behind “comics for adults”, and Kim Thompson is a huge part of the reason it even exists. His vision and work made Fantagraphics not only a showcase for what heights American comics could reach, but he also imported and translated numerous foreign comics. I’ve never really followed comics criticism, but I know he was a powerful force there as well, both in his own writing and in providing platforms for other writers with The Comics Journal and Amazing Heroes.

Thompson passed away yesterday at the age of 56. Honestly, his was not a name I personally would have recognized before I heard the news, but his work greatly shaped my development as a comics reader. Thank you so much, Kim.

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