I've been thinking about Fantagraphics co-founder Kim Thompson on the 2nd anniversary of his untimely death.
I was never close to Kim, but we had a friendly acquaintance and mutual respect. He made a difference in my life, indeed he help me quite a bit as I was struggling to make it as a cartoonist.
By December of '85, I'd already published six issues of my seminal indy comics title Dog Boy under my Cat-Head Comics imprint, but I was hungry for a bigger audience. I submitted a huge batch of pages to Fantagraphics, and Gary Groth wrote back with a thumbs up. I was delighted! Gary wrote that Dog Boy was more up Kim's alley than his, so I'd be working with Kim.
Via the mails, Kim and I went back & forth for a few months, discussing the particulars, but nothing really happened, and I was getting frustrated. I published Dog Boy #7 under Cat-Head, and hoped I could still work with Kim and Gary.
Fast forward to the San Diego Comic-Con, summer 1986. I haunted the Fanta booth looking for Kim. Jaime and Gilbert were in the house, but I froze up and was too shy to go over. Dork! Finally, I cornered Kim at the booth, and showed him 46 finished pages, about two-and-a-half comic books worth of Dog Boy. A great conversation ensued, and Kim said, "This is publishable work". We agreed he'd send a contract for me to look over, and I was over the moon.
Later that evening, I was hanging with a bunch of ne'er-do-well cartoonists by some hotel pool. Dori Seda had the world's tiniest bathing suit, and she was saying to her boyfriend Don Donahue, "I'm a very bad girl" and she jumped in. That looks like fun! Knowing I had on brand new black bikini briefs, I peeled my clothes off and in I went.
After the swim, I noticed Gary Groth and Carol Lay by the pool too -- Carol was up to the same as I that summer, inking up a deal with Fanta. Gary and I chatted, and he confirmed that I'd talked with Kim. I was happy as a clam.
Working with Kim, I did ten comic books with Fanta, and some work for his title Critters at a nice page rate. Kim was a straight shooter, no bullshit. Quietly enthusiastic, a real pro and very knowledgeable. And, I will say that the checks arrived in good time, with honest reporting on sales. Believe me, that is appreciated in the funky world of indy/alternative comics.
Did I mention this all happened in a brief window in the 80s referred to as the "black & white boom"? Well, the boom went to bust. Kim called one day, somber. He asked if I was still freelancing for other clients. "Sure", I said. Always have a few sticks in the fire. Turns out my sales of 10,500 for our first issue were down to about 2800 by issue #5. Ouch! So it goes.
Later, I mighta pissed off Kim a bit when my anthology title Buzzard ran a parody of the Comics Journal in Buzzard #6 in 1992. But I'll tell you, the piece, entitled "The Comics Urinal", was in truth an homage, a love letter to Kim and Gary.
Funding Death in Oaxaca with Sales of
Classic Dog Boy & Bughouse Original Comics Art
I'm about 70 pages into drawing Death
in Oaxaca, my new graphic novel. I'm serializing it as old-school
comic magazines with publisher Alternative Comics, working
towards the complete novel. The muse is handing this book over to
me—it's flowing like honey! I live for this sensation, fully alive,
deep in the trance of art-making, that I worked to such satisfaction
with Dog Boy in the '80s and on BugHouse in the '90s on up to 2005.
Problem is, I'm focused on the new work
but struggling to make ends meet. My solution: Put the artwork for my
Bughouse & Dog Boy material up for sale at attractive prices. I
have a deep stock of more than 500 Dog Boy pages on hand, and close
to 400 Bughouse pages. These comic art pieces are executed in brush &
ink on bristol board, generally around 11” x 17” in size.
I'm offering the Dog Boy pages at $100
and the Bughouse pages at $200. The best way to see them is with my
online publisher CO2, with Dog Boy here and Bughouse here. Pick the page or pages you that just call your name, and zip me an email. I'll check on availability of the pages you request and report back. Payment is
handled via Paypal.
I'm excited to offer these seminal works of original comic art to help drive my next work to completion. You'll receive a luminous piece of comics history while helping me to create more of the same!
Art shipping details: All art is shipped in
a heavy duty shipping tube, insured, via DHL from Oaxaca, Mexico.
Shipping charge is $55, with no extra shipping fee for multiple
pages. Ask about discounts for multiple pages. Note that you can select Dog Boy pages by issue at the CO2 site.
My next comic book Death in Oaxaca #2 is slated for a June, 2015
release from Alternative Comics.
Here's the promo rap on Death in Oaxaca #2, which will be a 32 page comic book at around five bucks:
Gertie, the glamorous expat writer
living in Mexico, stalks a 2000-year-old giant vampire bat while
dressed as Lucha Lucy, Oaxaca's newest costumed wrestling sensation.
She doesn't find the bat, but a couple local kids mock our hero
mercilessly, chanting “You Can't Fly!” Meanwhile, Gertie's
husband Rex, the swashbuckling guitar-slinging expat cartoonist,
talks about drunk driving with Death himself in the back seat. All
this plus Tlayudas, the most delicious Mexican food you've never
I'm really pumped about this comic book series from Alternative Comics, building towards an eventual graphic novel. I'm in the best groove creating this material since my signature work, Bughouse. You can still pick up Death in Oaxaca #1 from Alternative.
My shit-kickin' country punk outfit, The Dick Nixon Experience, will likely assemble in the San Francisco Bay Area this July to kick out the jams with a raucous publishing debacle on behalf of Death in Oaxaca #2! Details to follow...