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!!!

Comic Book Wish-list (as of Nov 2012)

This list mostly consists of dark, underground, horror-y graphic novels as I’m not really into the whole superhero thing (well, okay, that’s a giant lie, but let’s just say that I prefer these types of comics…)

Biologic Show #1 – Al Columbia

Sigh. It is pretty much im-fucking-possible to find this issue anywhere, so I’m not holding out my hopes of being able to get my hands on a copy anytime soon. Thankfully, because the internet rules, my friend Izzy and I located a download online – and so it is saved on my hard-drive forever. I might print it all out and make a make-shift version of the comic, but it’s not the same thing 

I own Issue #0 of The Biologic Show, amazingly, and it’s the most gnarly thing I’ve ever read. It touches on elements of necrophilia, beastiality, incest … etc etc … it’s fucking disturbing but REALLY GREAT. It’ll probably give you nightmares but it’s well worth a read if you can find it. Knowing how much I adore #0, you can imagine my delight at finding #1 and getting to read it (even if it was through the computer screen…..pffttt).

#1 is even creepier than #0, too! Hail Al Columbia.

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Art & Beauty Magazine – R. Crumb

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I first stumbled across the amazing Robert Crumb via an issue of the ‘Weirdo‘ anthology I own (I think it’s #8, you can purchase a lot of the ‘Weirdo’ series via my favourite online zine/comic store, WowCool). He is an interesting artist; one of my favourites – his work is distinctive for his criticism of the mainstream and the very revealing and confessional way in which he writes (just go read ‘My Troubles with Women‘ for an example). Anyway, I haven’t read Art & Beauty yet, because it’s out of fucking stock everywhere I try online… I’m going to have to visit eBay or Amazon and buy a second-hand copy, but it looks right up my street:

35 portraits of Crumb’s ideal feminine forms, each accompanied with annotations regarding that woman’s beauty

love anything like that. I can’t wait to eventually get my hands on this, I’ll write a review after.

Uzumaki #1 – Junji Ito & Annette Roman

I OWN THIS, I KNOW I DO. I BOUGHT IT OVER THE SUMMER. WHERE THE HELL IS IT? I CAN’T FIND IT ANYWHERE. It may be an icky manga, but I was recommended this comic to read, so I bought it, AND I DON’T KNOW WHERE IT’S GONE?! I DIDN’T EVEN GET TO READ IT PROPERLY! Apparently it’s really fucking gross and creepy. I’m getting annoyed at myself now. I remember it fucking arriving in the post and everything. Where the hell could it have gone?! I need a fucking book shelf.

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But yup, another creepy black-and-white horror comic. Do you see a pattern forming here?

Warning: after reading this comic, you may become a little paranoid about spiral shaped things. Yay!

The story concerns the inhabitants of the small Japanese town of Kurôzu-cho that seems to be cursed by supernatural events surrounding spirals. Many people become obsessed or paranoid about spiral shapes, which starts resulting in several gruesome deaths

The Tale of Brin & Bent And Minno Marylebone – Ravi Thornton & Andy Hixon

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Look at the cover art! Yay for creepiness!

Brin and Bent are poolkeepers at The House for the Grossly Infirm. Their days are spent abusing the House residents with bleach and chlorine, spying on them through holes they have drilled in the walls. They do not know that someone else comes to the pool at night: Minno Marylebone, a child like no other.

I was meant to buy this thing when it first came out this past July, but for some reason never got round to it. Ravi is a British author, relatively new to the world of comics, and seems to be a deep thinker who has written an immensely dark, disturbing, yet heart-achingly touching story. She says;

 It’s the tale of two broken characters who find their mend in the form of a heavenly child. I hope that the readers enjoy it as such. It’s also a metaphor for the strange rationalisations that a damaged mind makes in order to survive a great pain. Perhaps some of you will feel the story in that way – and to those I send out my heartfelt embrace.

I’m intrigued.

Grit Bath – Renée French

Earlier on today, I was nerding out with my Twitter-comic-book-writer-friend Luke Flaherty about comics -duh – and when I suggested he check out Biologic Show by Al Columbia, he hit me back with Grit Bath by Renée French. “It’s like if David Lynch and Eli Roth wrote comics” Luke told me. Say no more. I need this comic. I googled it, and turns out it’s out of print (lol, just my luck) but it was published by Fantagraphics (who not only also published Biologic Show and a ton of other Al Columbia work, but who are one of my favourite publishers). So yeah, the dye’s sort of been cast, and I need to get my hands on a copy. Somehow, someway.

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NEED.

Zero Zero #12

Zero Zero is an alternative comic anthology which was published by Fantagraphics.

I own the September 1997 issue, #20, which is an absolute gem, and contains a centre-piece by – lol, guess who? – Al Columbia called ‘Amnesia‘ which is REALLY FUCKING CREEPY AND AWESOME… but there are some of my other all-time favourite pieces in there as well such as a chapter of Dave Cooper’s ‘Crumple‘ and the eerily-delightful “Maxwell and the Mechanical Brides” by Glenn Head. Sorry, I’m blabbing on. Below is the cover of #12 which I really want solely because it has Johnny Rotten in it. And another chapter of Crumple. And the back cover is by Dan Clowes (duh, Ghost World).

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Anyway, I think that’s enough comic book talk for one night. If any of my real-life friends are reading my blog I’ve probably alienated the shit out of them because it’s sort of unknown to a lot of people that I am in fact a genuine nerd.

If you’re into the same kind of stuff, drop me a comment or leave me some recommendations or let’s fangirl over Al Columbia or something.