The comics community is waking to some bad news this morning – Fantagraphics’ own Kim Thompson, a huge champion of quality, innovative comics creators and Indy publishing, is facing a struggle with lung cancer. Fanta emailed out a statement from Kim (which is also on Kim’s Fanta blog page), which I am reproducing below:
“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.”
In the same email Gary Groth commented: “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 report to work, where he belongs, doing what he loves.”
(Kim at SPX, pic by Chris Mautner and shamelessly borrowed from CBR’s fine Robot 6 blog)
I don’t know Kim personally, but for many years I have been a huge admirer of Fantagraphics, as indeed the rest of our blog crew are – fair to say they have long been one of our very favourite publishers. They’ve pushed quality independent creators we might never otherwise get to see, translated some of the finest creators in other languages, due in no small part to Kim’s multi-lingual skills (including some of my personal favourites), their beautiful Complete Peanuts archive editions have inspired a wave of high quality archival editions from many others. Heck they’ve been home to Love & Rockets for so long, and that alone would make any publisher worthy of huge respect to anyone who loves the medium.
And loving the medium, well that’s the feeling I always get dealing with the Fanta crew – it’s all about pushing good, interesting work. I know Fanta has been an inspiration to the new wave of Indy Brit comics publishers we talk about on here so much – I know some of the people behind them thought why isn’t there someone like Fanta, D&Q etc here for our talent? That’s a pretty great thing when the publishing model you created and steered inspires more quality new publishers pushing more new talent from home and abroad. As Kim says in his statement, it is early days in his diagnosis, so let’s hope for the best. Certainly I don’t doubt Kim will have a huge amount of goodwill and support from everyone in the comics community. Keep you chin up, Kim, we’re all rooting for you.