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Kim Thompson.

§ June 24th, 2013 § Filed under fantagraphics, obituary § 6 Comments

As I’m sure you know, Fantagraphics mainstay Kim Thompson has passed away at the far too young age of 56. I was a fan of Thompson’s work on The Comics Journal and Amazing Heroes, and of course have enjoyed many comics that he helped along the path of publication. Tom Spurgeon gathered together lists of some Thompson-related publications from fans here, and gives a more general overview of his contributions to the comics world here.

A few comics from the archives that have Thompson credited as editor:

Critters was Thompson’s funny animal anthology, containing a high-quality selection of material throughout its run. This issue, near the end of its run, was a follow-up to Mike Kazaleh’s sci-fi comedy Adventures of Captain Jack, catching up with a couple of cast members after the end of that series in a decidedly down-to-earth non sci-fi story. I see in one of the above links that Spurgeon mentioned Thompson’s dismay that Kazaleh didn’t have more exposure in the industry…well, I found Kazaleh thanks to Fantagraphics, and I’ve been a fan since. Once, at a local convention, Kazaleh was a guest, sketching Ninja Turtle after Ninja Turtle for kids, since that’s what he was working on at the time. I asked for a Captain Jack drawing, and he was so happy he almost insisted I take it for free!

I’ve spoken about Eye of Mongombo before…a bizarrely hilarious adventure book in the style of Carl Barks’ duck books, kinda sorta. Still not complete, but still completely great. Thompson is listed as editor, and if he was responsible for getting this published under the Fantagraphics banner…oh, man, thank you.

I miss seeing the occasional J.R. Williams comic from Fantagraphics, but I’m grateful for the ones we got.

I honestly don’t have a lot to add that hasn’t already been said more thoroughly and more eloquently by others about the passing of Kim Thompson. All I know is that his name was on a lot of comics and magazines I enjoyed, and I’m thankful for his efforts in bringing them to us.

So long, Kim.

There is an index entry for “angelfood cake with seven minute frosting.”

§ August 29th, 2011 § Filed under fantagraphics, peanuts § 4 Comments

So I just finished reading Fantagraphics’ The Complete Peanuts 1981-1982, and again, like I explained last time, the vast majority of this book was new to me, having not read previous reprintings of the strips from this period (as opposed to the near-memorization of the reprint books from the late ’70s and earlier).

One of the great new features of this particular reprint series, aside from, y’know, the whole completeness of the strips reprints and all, is the index in each volume. Sometimes humorously exact (like the breakdown of which Beagle Scouts are mentioned by name on which page), sometimes helpful (the “psychiatric help” listing helped my research in writing this Content Farm gag), sometimes facilitating celebrity spotting (oh, hey, namecheck of Carl Sagan in this volume)…

…And sometimes it’s a useful tool in documenting character appearances in the strip. Like Violet…in this 1981-1982 volume, Violet only appears on one page, versus (pulling out an earlier volume at random) 1961-1962, where she appears on about 30 pages. Yes, I know it’s no secret that some characters fell by the wayside as time went on (alas, poor Shermy), but it’s still a little…sad, I suppose, to see once prominent inhabitants of the strip only pop up once in a blue moon in the latter part of its run, if at all.

By the way, in the earlier volume, Violet was listed in the index under “Violet,” but when I couldn’t find her in the 1981-1982 volume’s index, I realized that she was probably listed under her last name, which I could not remember for the life of me. A quick Googling took me to her Wikipedia page, revealing that her last name, appearing once in a strip in 1953, is “Gray.” Also, I learned that “her birthday is unofficially celebrated by Peanuts fans on June 17,” so only about 10 shopping months left, friends. Apparently, according to the Wiki entry, this contradicts previous information placing her birthday in other parts of the year. Hey, reader De, remember when you joked about Peanuts canon arguments?

By the way, the index to her Wiki entry reveals her to be a monster:

• • •

In other Peanuts-related news, Tom Spurgeon reports on the possible loss of the Charles Schulz Library at the Center of Cartoon Studies due to storm damage.

Soon perhaps to be the #1 Google result for Teaser and the Blacksmith.

§ September 20th, 2010 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, fantagraphics § 11 Comments

Some of you may have noticed that I had sort of an impromptu Low Content Mode on the site last week, aside from Thursday’s post when I just kinda went on and on. No particular reason for it, other than, you know, having some other things to occupy my precious, precious free time. Like doing a little interior house painting. Or shooting people getting shot repeatedly on Red Dead Redemption. Or actually reading the occasional comic book. Or getting my usual daily dosage of five hours of sleep.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt to ease off a bit to recharge the batteries. I have been doing this daily for nearly seven years, when, after working all day slinging funnybooks at customers, I come home and write about funnybooks on the internet for free (well, mostly free, he said, gesturing desperately at his Amazon links). Please don’t begrudge me doing some “easy” posts once in a while. (And I put “easy” in quotes, because sometimes the simple posts end up taking as much time to put together as the more content-ish posts.)

I’m overreacting…it’s not like anyone really complained or anything, and traffic on the site has been up, and it seems like a lot of you folks have enjoyed the last week’s worth of entries…so consider my behavior encouraged. But I sometimes do feel like I’m skimping a bit when I do a lot of scan-heavy posts in a row, so…well, there you go. I’m a victim of my own guilt.

By the way, remember how like every year I say “okay, I’m going to stop updating every day” and yet I still keep posting every day? There’s something wrong with me, man.

BOO HOO I DON’T WASTE TIME ON THE INTERNET PROPERLY. Okay, enough of that, let’s move on to this:

I’ve been trying to use the category/tagging function of this site a little more frequently, mostly because I’m tired of seeing all my posts read “filed under Uncategorized” and, okay, fine, to make things easier for the readers, too. I’ve been a bit silly with some of the tags…I don’t know that I’ll ever use “worm-suit” again, but I’m sure someday I’ll once again find use for the “tampons” tag. I think my favorite category is “freak-out”…be sure to click that and scroll down for an old favorite of mine (after the much more recent post).

• • •

So Tom Spurgeon did one of his regular “Five for Friday” polls where he asked folks to list five favorite Fantagraphics publications that weren’t by Chris Ware, the Hernandez Brothers, Charles Schulz, Dan Clowes, and Peter Bagge. For once I managed to participate in the poll, and you can see my entries about a third of the way through this list of results, somewhere.

I found myself wanting to list far more than the five allowed…I did mention in a note accompanying the list I emailed Tom that the only reason I didn’t list James Sturm’s The Cereal Killings was that he’d already used it in his example list. (And come to think of it…has The Cereal Killings ever been collected? I can’t recall that it has. (For those unfamiliar, it’s sorta like the Watchmen/League of Extraordinary Gentlemen of cereal mascots, only far more low key and melancholy than those comparisons may suggest. Also, it’s brilliant.)

One title I did mention was the sadly uncompleted Eye of Mongombo, but when I Googled it up just to make sure I had the spelling correct, I found the blog for Mongombo creator Doug Gray! Specifically, this post featuring newly (as of 2009) commissioned Mongombo art! Pretty cool. Gray also mentions trying to work on the book again, and I sincerely hope he does.

There were several Fantagraphics publications I wanted to mention, like their excellent Popeye collections, or their Zippy books, or any of their Kim Deitch releases, or the pure evil of Scott Russo’s Jizz, or the assorted J.R. Williams magazine one-shots — but I did list his series Crap. Yes, that’s right…Jizz and Crap. Ask for ‘em by name! I also thought about mentioning Don Rosa’s Comics & Stories but wasn’t sure if that counted…but looking at that entry which lists Fantagraphics as the publisher, yeah, I guess it would have.

And then I saw other people mentioning Amazing Heroes and Comics Journal in their lists, and I was thinking, damn, why didn’t I think of that?

Oh, man…and there’s Real Stuff, and Anything Goes, and Schizo, and….

Anyway, not sure what the point of all that was, other than “I like a lot of stuff from Fantagraphics and should talk about them more on the site.”

Didn’t see anyone mention Teaser and the Blacksmith, a comic that was…certainly something. Not even sure how to begin describing it, and given the Googling I just performed, if I did describe it I’d become the go-to source on this book and I’m not sure if I’m ready to shoulder that responsibility. (EDIT: Ah, here’s a brief article that notes the premise of the story.)

I was also genuinely surprised no one listed Wendy Whitebread, from Fantagraphics’ Eros division. C’mon, the thing went through multiple printings, and I know I sold a ton of them…some of you have this comic. Don’t deny it.