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FANTAGRAPHICS LOOKS AHEAD

Kim ThompsonStaffers at Fantagraphics and friends will continue to miss Kim Thompson, a vital partner in all the company’s productions for over thirty years. But, as Brian Miller observed in the Seattle Weekly, “Still, after the tears are shed, books still have to be printed and sold. Business is business, and Gary Groth, the remaining partner, is looking forward.”

Said Groth: “Over the last decade, Kim spent more and more of his time working on European
books. So the most concrete and tangible consequence of his death will be to cut back — but by no means eliminate — our European line. We will continue publishing a number of authors, including Jacques Tardi, Jason, and many artists of the following generation [such as Uli Lust].”

“Groth appears unruffled by such market changes,” said Miller. “He notes that the company is venturing beyond comics:”

“Over the last five years,” Groth said, “we’ve published a number of prose novels by a variety of writers, some established, some new — Alexander Theroux, Stephen Dixon, Danny Bland, and Monte Schulz. We recently published Kip Friedman’s memoir, Barracuda in the Attic; and next year we’ll be publishing a history of 20th-century comedy by Ben Schwartz. Last year, we published The Last Vispo, a collection of Fantagraphics logoVisual Poetry, as well as Pat Thomas’ Listen, Whitey, a coffee-table book tracking the intersection between pop culture and the black-power movement.”

Groth’s determination notwithstanding, Fantagraphics found itself in need of help to get through the coming publishing year. Without Thompson, 13 of the company’s European graphic novel line, scheduled for the Spring-Summer season, have been cancelled or postponed. Meanwhile, as Groth explained, the company’s fixed costs continue unabated. Without the projected revenue that selling those books would yield, the company’s cash flow was severely impacted.

To make up for the shortfall and to support the publishing of 39 titles scheduled for spring and summer, Fantagraphics set out to raise $150,00 on Kickstarter; by November 21, loyal fans and supporters had pledged over $188,000. Every dollar over the initial goal will enhance the final products. The fund-raising ended December 5.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

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