Freitag, 21. Juni 2013

In Memory Of Kim Thompson

Kim Thompson died on June 19th.

He was the Co-Publisher of Fantagraphics Books for so long that it seemed as if he had been the co-founder, too. The comics he published, and the way he published them, have been a huge influence on me. Also, he was a great guy.

It's not that I can say that we were close friends. I was an intern at Fantagraphics for 6 months in 1991, so technically, Kim was my boss. But working there never felt that way. Kim always gave you the feeling that you were friends.

I remember meeting him for the first time, when i arrived at SEA-TAC airport. He'd actually driven down there himself to drive me to Fantagraphics. I'm pretty sure he wore a Stinz Löwhard T-Shirt, sweatpants and sneakers. Which turned out to be his uniform around the office. And around life, in general. T-Shirt, sweatpants, sneakers. Relaxed. But you knew he was in the office as soon as you heard the RAT-TAT-TAT staccato of his hammering away on that old electric typewriter nestled between stacks, mesas, mountains of paper, galley proofs and comic books in that little room he shared with Eros Comix’ editor, Ryder Windham.

Kim trusted me to work on jobs I had never done before. Yes, I started out in the stat room and went on to do paste-up for books ranging fom HATE to THE BLONDE. But he also let me work on layouts for FBI's magazines AMAZING HEROES and THE COMICS JOURNAL, let me design a Los Bros.-T-Shirt for the San Diego Comic Convention, and, at Robert Boyd's recommendation, let me art direct on an issue of THE COMPLETE CRUMB COMICS. A lot of what I'm doing right in publishing these days is founded on that trust and that work. I owe him lots. But, enough about me.

I remember Kim throwing a party for the VHS release of IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD. I remember Kim sticking his head through the doorway of the art department, shouting »Thirty minutes!« – which meant that the FedEx pickup for artwork due printing was in half an hour and you'd better have it ready. I remember playing four-language Scrabble with him, his brother, Mark, and his mother (I lost badly, this family is fluent in English, French, German and Danish). I remember Kim blasting his newly bought CDs through the office stereo. I remember Kim talking about Comics, Movies and Music.

I remember meeting him for the last time, a few years back at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Fantagraphics had a relatively small booth that he was manning himself. We talked a little, and he said he had come over because he liked the fair and because he liked being in Europe for some time. Visiting family. Being in the world. We shook hands, said »Auf Wiedersehen!«, and that was that. There would always be time for more talk. When I looked back, Kim was sitting there, surrounded by Comics, smiling to himself, looking out into the world.

And that's how I'll remember him most.

Smiling, surrounded by Comic Books, in the world.

Donnerstag, 31. Januar 2013


1991 machte ich ein Praktikum bei Fantagraphics Books in Seattle. Und da tauchte dann auch dieser nette Herr in meinem Skizzenbuch auf.

In 1991 I was an intern at Fantagraphics Books in Seattle. And it was there that this nice man popped up in my sketchbook.

Sonntag, 6. Januar 2013


Die Geschichte vom Ninja Koala hat Piet mir im Auto erzählt, als wir in die Sommerferien fuhren. Piet ist mein Sohn, er ist sieben, und er mag den kleinen Hobbit, Ice Age, die fünf Freunde, Lego Ninjago und Star Wars. Und weil Ferien waren und die Geschichte mir gut gefiel, haben wir uns zusammengesetzt und einen Comic draus gemacht. Piet hat mir diktiert, was alles geschieht, wer was sagt, und welche Waffen die Personen benutzen. Ich habe nichts an seiner Version der Geschichte geändert. Naja, gut, ich habe gesagt, dass die erste Ausgabe vielleicht nicht mehr als 20 Seiten haben sollte. Weil Piet eigentlich mehr Seiten vorhatte. So etwa hundert. Der Comic ist jedenfalls fertig, und die erste Ausgabe gibt es exklusiv bei den netten Menschen von Kwimbi zu bestellen. Und Piet gibt es unten auf dem Foto zu sehen. Er ist der jüngere der beiden gutaussehenden Menschen.

Piet told me the story of Ninja Koala in the car, while we were driving towards our summer holiday destination. Piet is my son, he's seven years old, and he likes Tolkien's Hobbit book, Ice Age, Enid Blyton's Five series,  Lego Ninjago, and Star Wars. And because we were on a vacation and I liked the story, we sat down (later, not right there in the car) and made a comic book out of it. Piet told me exactly, what happens to whom, who says what, and which weapons are used by which person. I didn't change a thing from his version of the story. Okay, so I said that I think the first issue probably shouldn't have more than 20 pages. Because Piet wanted a lot more pages, initially. About a hundred. Anyway, the book is finished and you may order it exclusively at Kwimbi, a very nice shop run by very nice people. Piet you can see on the photo below. He's the younger one of the two nice-looking people there.