September 25, 2016
A Brief Note Or Two On The Late Kim Thompson Being Born 60 Years Ago Today
The great translator, underrated critic and legendary publishing figure Kim Thompson, who died in 2013, would have been 60 today. I suspect Kim would have rolled his eyes at prolonged public sadness over his passing, so I won't mention anything like that here other than to state it's still slightly impossible for me to believe that I could go to that office right this very second and not find him working in that little office of his, or stepping into the kitchen to greet me.
The thing that stuck in my head, though, throughout today, was how many people texted and e-mailed that they thought Kim was older than 60 when he passed away. I think that's because Kim and Gary Groth and their roughly same-age peers were either the first generation of alt-comics publishers or the first generation since the first generation to enter mainstream comics in a significant way. So you have a lot of people 55-65 with trackable careers two, three, four decades long in an established arts industry, which is rare outside of a few precocious creative
Alt-comics is older now in a lot of ways, despite the flood of younger cartoonists driving down the average age overall. When I went to work at Fantagraphics in 1994 I was likely in the top half of older people in the office. I was 26. Kim and Gary, who seemed decades older in my mind, were in their late 30s. By then they had settled into a crucial if not stable industry role and had already held down that position for a dozen to 15 years. We just don't have a lot of people like that these days, people younger than 40 in key positions that we know will play as big or bigger roles 20 years from now. We are lucky to have them when and where we can, and for however long it lasts.
posted 2:00 am PST
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