September 25, 1956 – June 19, 2013
August 10, 2013
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Society of Illustrators
128 East 63rd Street
New York, NY
Friends, family and colleagues are invited to celebrate and remember the life of Kim Thompson.
Kim Thompson was the co-publisher of the Seattle-based Fantagraphics Books, the well-known publisher of of a vast array of cartoonists, including Charles Schulz, R. Crumb, Kim Deitch, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, Daniel Clowes, Tony Millionaire, Hal Foster, Walt Kelly, Jaques Tardi, Cathy Malkasian, Dash Shaw, and many others. In addition to his managerial duties at the company, he was a writer, editor, and translator. Born in Denmark in 1956, Thompson grew up in Europe, a lifelong comics fan, and moved to America permanently in late 1977. In 1978 he became part owner of The Comics Journal with Gary Groth. 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.
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 frst 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, Dave Cooper, Al Columbia, Spain Rodriguez, Joe Sacco, David Mazzuchelli, and Joyce Farmer. His most recent professional 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.
– Excerpt taken from Fantagraphics Co-Publisher Kim Thompson, RIP written by Gary Groth