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Fantagraphics' co-publisher Kim Thompson has lung cancer

March 07, 2013|By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
  • Fantagraphics' co-publisher Kim Thompson has been diagnosed with lung cancer.
Fantagraphics' co-publisher Kim Thompson has been diagnosed with… (Fantagraphics / The Comics…)

Kim Thompson, who since the late 1970s has been co-owner and co-publisher of Fantagraphics Books, has been diagnosed with lung cancer, it was announced Wednesday by the Seattle comics publisher.

In a statement, the 56-year-old Thompson wrote: “This is still very early in the diagnosis, so I have no way of knowing the severity of my condition. I’m relatively young and [otherwise] in good health, and my hospital is top-flight, so I'm hopeful and confident that we will soon have the specifics narrowed down, set me up with a course of treatment, proceed, and lick this thing.”

Fantagraphics has long been one of America’s leading publishers of comics, showcasing both new work and old. Among its artists have been Jessica Abel (creator of the stunning “La Perdida”), Daniel Clowes, Ellen Forney, Joe Coleman and the Hernandez brothers; the company has also reissued work by Jack Kirby, Harvey Kurtzman, R. Crumb and David Wojnarowicz, whose “Seven Miles a Second” was brought back into print this year.

That’s quite a list; indeed, it’s no understatement to suggest that without Fantagraphics, the so-called comics revolution would have been very different, if it would have happened at all. From his perch there, Thompson has been a major player, editing, among others, Peter Bagge, Chris Ware and Joe Sacco, and infusing money into the press when it looked as though it might fail.

In Thompson’s absence, Fantagraphics will continue under the leadership of his partner Gary Groth, who founded the company in 1976.

Groth shared his thoughts Wednesday, acknowledging, “This is a tough announcement to make, but everyone who knows Kim knows he’s a fighter and we remain optimistic that he’ll get through this and report back to work, where he belongs, doing what he loves.”

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