RIP Kim Thompson

Two days ago, it was reported that Fantagraphics co-publisher and long-time underground pioneer Kim Thompson had passed away from lung cancer at age 56.

It’s hard to fully understand and appreciate the impact this man had on alternative comics unless it’s something you’re passionate about. He is an industry legend; with editing/publishing credentials such as Acme Novelty Library and (one of my all-time favourite things ever): the Zero Zero anthology. 

On the Fantagraphics website, Gary Groth (co-founder and long-time friend to Kim), wrote an obituary celebrating Kim’s life that talks about his youth in Europe; growing up a comics fan and zine writer, moving to the US in 1977, and eventually becoming a co-owner and partner with fellow comix genius Gary.

His passing is felt by many; both by those who knew and worked with him personally and by those who merely enjoyed his work and contribution to the world of alternative comics. My thoughts are with his family and friends; specifically his wife Lynn Emerst, Gary Groth, Eric Reynolds, Larry Reid, and the many other awesome people he worked in close proximity with at Fantagraphics. I have a feeling the happiest place in the comics universe is a little somber this week.

Rest in peace, Kim. I never met or knew you, but as a fan I truly feel the need to celebrate your life’s work and pay my utmost respects. Thank you for all you did, and continue to do. Your legacy lives on and on.

2013 sucks.

All Hail Al Columbia

What I love about Al Columbia is that he doesn’t fucking sugarcoat anything. His work is so brutally honest; so dark, seedy, and depressing. Even though it is very much so ‘fantasy‘, there’s a grim reality to it that, for whatever reason, is relatable for the reader. 

I think the honesty in his work is what draws a lot of people towards him, too.

Biologic Show #0 opened a lot of doors comix-wise for me; from that I went on to discover R Crumb’s work, various other titles by Fantagraphics, Renee French, Charles Burns’ classic Black Hole, Howard Chaykin, all sorts of anthologies, the list goes on. Al Columbia really introduced me to the comic world underground. And thank god he did; because it fucking rules.

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“It usually takes people half their lives to reach a mid-life crisis”

I LOVE FANTAGRAPHICS

Okay, so remember back in November when I wrote my comic book wish-list and specifically mentioned I really, really wanted Biologic Show #1 by Al Columbia and Grith Bath by Renee French? YEAH? WELL! I was serious, and so I contacted Fantagraphics (who originally published them both) and asked un-ashamedly if anyone there knew where I could get my hands on a few copies – as I presumed that since they were out of print, there’s definitely not going to be any just lying around, right? Surely not…

BUT!!!!!

Look what I fucking got in the mail about two weeks ago AND FOR FREE!! from Fantagraphics:

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I am so unexplainably happy!! Thank you Fantagraphics (Larry in particular) for the most amazing belated Christmas present ever!! You are THEE best!!!

Review: The Tale of Brin & Bent And Minno Marylebone

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The Tale of Brin & Bent And Minno Marylebone is a fascinating, unique story that will stay with you long after you reach the last page. I promise.

It’s described by it’s author, Ravi Thornton, as “a metaphor for the strange rationalisations that a damaged mind makes in order to survive a great pain” and I think that statement is 100% relatable to anyone who’s dealt with loss – whether that be loss of life, or (in my case), loss of oneself.

I was recommended this book in August 2012 by Page 45, my favourite local comic book shop, after I approached them looking for something ‘dark and macabre’ – they emailed me a link to The Tale of Brin & Bent And Minno Marylebone followed by these words: “we just got this in. Not even had a chance to read it yet but good Lord, does it look messed up.” Naturally, I was intrigued.

In retrospect, it’s not that messed up. Not any more messed up than you or I, anyway. Don’t let the initial grim, darkness fool you; towards the end, there is much light, and it reminds us all of the fact that triumph sometimes must come from tragedy. This tale is about any and all of us.

Without giving too much away, it’s a love story; two broken individuals who emerge from the shadows of their depravity because of the purity and innocence of a child. A child who sees beauty in ugliness, love in acts of hatred, darkness in light, and humanity in Brin and Bent. A child like no other: Minno Marylebone.

I adored this story unreservedly. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read; fascinating and unique, oddly comforting, almost painful. Like the unravelling of bandaged wounds that show healing – but with the distant, dull ache still there. Nostalgic. Bittersweet. Something you’ve forgiven but can never forget.

Ravi Thornton’s stunning, thought-evoking writing is brought to life by Andy Hixon‘s distorted, haunting illustration – and the combination of both will leave you entranced and captivated, eagerly anticipating the next page. All in all, it’s a powerful collaboration and – as Ravi’s first graphic novel – a divine introduction and contribution to the world of comics.

I can’t recommend it enough.

Buy The Tale of Brin & Bent And Minno Marylebone on Amazon
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