Kim Thompson (1956-2013)

Love&Rockets24

When I started publishing in 1991 I was a student with no experience in this business whatsoever. Still a brief letter of introduction (and a bit of money for the advance payment on royalties) was all it needed to persuade Kim Thompson to hand me over the rights to publish Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez’ “Love & Rockets” in German language. It was thanks to Kim’s trust and generosity that Reprodukt and the first book “Der Tod von Speedy” came into existence. It would have been the only comic I would have liked to publish in the early 90′s – except for Daniel Clowes who then came on as our third author with “Wie ein samtener Handschuh in eisernen Fesseln”, again arranged with and through Kim and Fantagraphics.

In the 80′s Gary Groth’ and Kim Thompson’s Fantagraphics Books had become the most fascinating publishing house of alternative comics. “Love & Rockets”, “Eightball”, “Neat Stuff” and then later on “Hate”, “Frank” and “Acme Novelty Library” were – along with Robert Crumb’s “Weirdo” (Last Gasp) and Françoise Mouly’s and Art Spiegelman’s “Raw” – the most exciting publications the world of comics had to offer. So Kim along with Gary had put on a first model of an independent comics publisher that we tried to follow with the means we had within the German comics scene.

For a couple of years at the end of the 90′s Kim used to attend the Frankfurt Bookfair with a booth for Fantagraphics where Jutta, Claudia and me regularly met with him and NBM publisher Terry Nantier to spend some memorable evenings together. We will miss not only the most “European” minded of all the North American independent publishers we know but also a very kind, most efficient and generous friend – and kindred spirit. It will be harder without Kim.