Fantagraphics reported the death this morning of the company’s co-publisher Kim Thompson. The editor, publisher, translator and journalist had been at the forefront of alternative comics for decades. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in February. Thompson was 56.
The full release as published at the Fantagraphics blog:
Fantagraphics co-publisher Kim Thompson died at 6:30 this morning, June 19. “He was my partner and close friend for 36 years,” said Gary Groth.
Thompson was born in Denmark in 1956. He grew up in Europe, a lifelong comics fan, reading both European and American comics in Denmark, France, and Germany. He was an active fan in his teen years, writing to comics — his letters appeared in Marvel’s letter columns circa early 1970s — and contributing to fanzines from his various European perches. At the age of 21, he set foot, for the first time, on American soil, in late 1977. One “fanzine” he had not contributed to was The Comics Journal, which Groth and Michael Catron began publishing in July of 1976. That was soon to change.
“Within a few weeks of his arrival,” said Groth, “he came over to our ‘office,’ which was the spare bedroom of my apartment, and was introduced by a mutual friend — it was a fan visit. We were operating out of College Park, Maryland and Kim’s parents had moved to Fairfax, Virginia, both Washington DC suburbs. Kim loved the energy around the Journal and the whole idea of a magazine devoted to writing about comics, and asked if he could help. We needed all the help we could get, of course, so we gladly accepted his offer. He started to come over every day and was soon camping out on the floor. The three of us were living and breathing The Comics Journal 24 hours a day.”
Thompson became an owner when Catron took a job at DC Comics in 1978. As he became more familiar with the editorial process, Thompson became more and more integral to the magazine, assembling and writing news and conducting interviews with professionals. Thompson’s career in comics began here.
In 1981, Fantagraphics began publishing comics (such as Jack Jackson’s Los Tejanos, Don Rosa’s Comics and Stories, and, in 1982, Love and Rockets). Thompson was always evangelical about bandes dessinées and wanted to bring the best of European comics to America; in 1981, Thompson selected and translated the first of many European graphic novels for American publication — Herman Huppen’s The Survivors: Talons of Blood (followed by a 2nd volume in 1983). Thompson’s involvement in The Comics Journal diminished in 1982 when he took over the editorship of Amazing Heroes, a bi-weekly magazine devoted to more mainstream comics (with occasional forays into alternative and even foreign comics). Thompson helmed Amazing Heroes through 204 issues until 1992.
Among Thompson’s signature achievements in comics were Critters, a funny-animal anthology that ran from 50 issues between 1985 to 1990 and is perhaps best known for introducing the world to Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo; and Zero Zero, an alternative comics anthology that also ran for 50 issues over five years — between 1995 and 2000 — and featured work by, among others, Kim Deitch, Dave Cooper, Al Columbia, Spain Rodriguez, Joe Sacco, David Mazzuchelli, and Joyce Farmer. His most recent enthusiasm was spearheading a line of European graphic novel translations, including two major series of volumes by two of the most significant living European artists — Jacques Tardi (It Was the War of the Trenches, Like a Sniper Lining up His Shot, The Astonishing Exploits of Lucien Brindavoine) and Jason (Hey, Wait…, I Killed Adolf Hitler, Low Moon, The Left Bank Gang) — and such respected work as Ulli Lust’s Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life, Lorenzo Mattotti’s The Crackle of the Frost, Gabriella Giandelli’s Interiorae, and what may be his crowning achievement as an editor/translator, Guy Peelaert’s The Adventures of Jodelle.
Throughout his career at Fantagraphics, Thompson was active in every aspect of the company, selecting books, working closely with authors, guiding books through the editorial and production process. “Kim leaves an enormous legacy behind him,” said Groth, “not just all the European graphic novels that would never have been published here if not or his devotion, knowledge, and skills, but for all the American cartoonists he edited, ranging from Stan Sakai to Joe Sacco to Chris Ware, and his too infrequent critical writing about the medium. His love and devotion to comics was unmatched. I can’t truly convey how crushing this is for all of us who’ve known and loved and worked with him over the years.”
Thompson was diagnosed with lung cancer in late February. He is survived by his wife, Lynn Emmert, his mother and father, Aase and John, and his brother Mark.
Back in the Eddie Sutton heyday, an OSU basketball ticket was gold. Great teams. Miniature arena. Fabulous atmosphere. You got a chance to go see Sutton’s Cowboys, you didn’t let the tickets lie dormant on the countertop.
That was then. Now, OSU is in the same pickle much of college basketball finds itself. Difficult to get people in the doors for all but the biggest games.
I wrote about the OSU football ticket success story for the Wednesday Oklahoman. You can read that column here. But basketball, even in the wake of Marcus Smart, Markel Brown and Le’Bryan Nash all postponing pro careers for a year, remains a tough challenge in Stillwater.
“Ten, 15 years ago, if you got two tickets to a game here at Gallagher-Iba, you made sure your tickets were used,” said OSU ticket manager Craig Bauman. “You didn’t know if you’d get the chance to do that again.”
Now, with Gallagher-Iba more than doubled in size, from 6,381 to 13,611, and the Cowboys not always playing at the same level as Sutton’s great teams, season-ticket holders will cherry pick. A game against Sam Houston State at 8 p.m. on a Wednesday doesn’t have quite the magnetic pull it once did.
My theory: Lots of OSU fans have made the trade from basketball to football. Some have only so much discretionary income. They heard the message that football is important, that football is paramount, and made the jump. With rousing success, both on the field and at the gate.
Many fans have only so much time and/or money.
But there are other theories. Team performance is a factor. The national trend, particularly with students, is declining attendance.
OSU is taking steps to re-pack Gallagher-Iba. Starting with the students.
“This is challenging,” OSU athletic director Mike Holder said. “There’s so much more for a student to do. Lot of competition for their time and energy.”
So OSU has established a new student ticket policy. In the old days, students were on an A/B rotation. They basically got in to half the games with their student ticket. Then their ticket got them into all the games. Then their ticket became a combo football/basketball ticket.
Now, an OSU student ticket to football gets a student into every athletic event, including basketball, and the price has been reduced from $330 to $240. “We’re hoping to sell more than 12,000,” Holder said, “and give us more of a pool to draw from for basketball. Students are critical for both sports, but absolutely essential for basketball.”
And it doesn’t hurt Smart and Co. return for another run at hoops glory.
“We saw a spike the day of the press conference,” announcing the return of Smart, Brown and Nash, Bauman said, “and it really hasn’t let off since. We’re hoping there’s a lot of excitement around the basketball programs.”
A version of this story will run in Thursday’s The Oklahoman.
Mel Tillis, Sammy Hagar and John Anderson added to Toby Keith’s Oklahoma Twister Relief Concert
In addition, Ford Trucks, Verizon, Wal-Mart, and the Academy of Country Music’s charitable arm, Lifting Lives, have come aboard as sponsors for the benefit concert.
Country Music Hall of Famer Mel Tillis, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Sammy Hagar and country singer John Anderson have been added to the July 6 concert at the Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium at the University of Oklahoma.
Previously announced performers include Keith, Country Music Hall of Famer and Owasso resident Garth Brooks, Brooks’ wife Trisha Yearwood, former Tulsan Ronnie Dunn and Country Music Hall of Famer and Texas icon Willie Nelson.
“When Toby asked me to come on board, I immediately said ‘Yes!’” said Sammy Hagar in a news release. “He’s put together a hell of a concert lineup to help raise funds for the brave and resilient people of Oklahoma. My job is going to be to help them take their minds off their problems and have some much needed, good old-fashioned fun.”
In addition, Ford Trucks, Verizon, Wal-Mart, and the Academy of Country Music’s charitable arm, Lifting Lives, have come aboard as sponsors for the benefit concert. Sponsorship donations and underwriting of the concert will allow 100 percent of ticket proceeds to benefit Oklahoma tornado recovery efforts, according to the news release.
Keith, who was born in Clinton, grew up in Moore and now lives in Norman, began planning the concert the day after a deadly EF5 tornado tore through Moore on May 20. Net proceeds (minus only credit card merchant fees and Oklahoma sales tax) will benefit The United Way of Central Oklahoma May Tornadoes Relief Fund.
“I’ve got lots of family and friends who were directly affected. I know these folks and they’re resilient, but we’re going to keep helping them any way we can. I’m proud to get together with some others from around here who are just as committed as I am to supporting these communities,” Keith said in a news release.
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday online at Ö Ticketmaster.com, by phone at (800) 745-3000 or at Homeland store locations. All seats are $25 (all taxes and fees included), all seats reserved, with an eight-ticket purchase limit.
Doors will open at 1:30 p.m. July 6, and the show will begin at 3 p.m.
Brooks will play two shows in two states in one day to participate in the benefit show. He will open the charity concert in Norman and then fly out to perform a previously booked return engagement at the Wynn Las Vegas that night, according to his publicist.
“Once we got the news that the tornado had hit Toby’s hometown, Miss Yearwood and I told Toby we were at his service for whatever he chose to do,” Brooks said in a news release. “I am amazed at the human spirit the tornado victims have shown. I am humbled by the giving of the volunteers. It is an honor to get to be a part of this healing process.”
For more information on the event, go to www.tobykeith.com.
Mike Gundy shot out a mysterious tweet on Tuesday night, proclaiming ‘Pistols Firing!’ without giving a reason for his excitement.
In all likelihood, it was in response to another recruit joining Oklahoma State’s 2014 class.
Jeremiah Ledbetter, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound JUCO defensive tackle, committed to the Cowboys on Tuesday, as first reported by Scout.com.
Ledbetter apparently impressed the coaching staff at OSU’s recent mini-camp, performing well enough to earn the offer. He will play at Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College this upcoming season.
That makes 12 recruits committed to OSU for the 2014 class. Here’s the full list.
What to do in Oklahoma on June 19, 2013: Hear Generationals play the Heal OK benefit show at The Opolis
Today’s featured event:
NORMAN – New Orleans touring act Generationals will headline the Heal OK benefit concert at 8:30 tonight at The Opolis, 113 N Crawford in Norman. The Louisiana rockers, who experienced a similar calamity when Hurricane Katrina ravaged their hometown, volunteered to play the show for free to raise funds for American Red Cross of Central and Western Oklahoma.
Oklahoma musicians Skating Polly, The Wurly Birds and Colin Nance will open Wednesday’s show, according to Joshua Boydston, communications director for the Norman Arts Council and the show’s organizer.
Tickets and information: http://opolis.org and www.ticketstorm.com.
For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
Six months ago, the ongoing drought conditions were drying up Oklahoma City’s primary water supply. Lake Hefner’s level was so low that much of the lake bottom was exposed. Boating was replaced by walking out on dry land well into the lake.
The lake was in trouble and city officials decided it was time to act, so they exercised a legal right I first learned about when I was working for the newspapers in Enid years ago. Oklahoma City officials tapped Canton Lake in northwest Oklahoma to replenish Hefner.
Now, it’s Canton Lake that is trouble. The draw down to help Oklahoma City has left Canton well below its normal level. In fact, there are those who believe the latest move is killing the lake.
Drawing water from Canton wasn’t a popular move among those in that part of the state and during the time my family lived in Enid. I heard a lot of cussing and discussing of the action. Now, as a resident of central Oklahoma, I hear and read more of the other side of the issue, from those who want and need the water here.
There are two sides to any story. There are winners and losers. It’s a matter of perspective.
Here are some of the key moments in this situation this year.
Water from Canton Lake began flowing into Lake Hefner on Feb. 4, completing a 100-mile trip and boosting drinking water supplies after months of drought, staff writer William Crum reported. He added a “side benefit is that some people may be able to refloat boats that have been stuck in the mud because of historically low water levels.” Others were left high and dry in marinas, well above the water they normally floated in.
The story also focused on the needs of Oklahoma City and how the water from Canton would help. http://tinyurl.com/mg6fool
Despite the dropping water level at Canton Lake, due to the transfer of water to Oklahoma City, officials continued to work diligently on how to keep moving on their biggest annual event, the Canton Walleye Rodeo, and other activities.
The biggest concern, the Enid News & Eagle reported, was that there wouldn’t be enough water to make these events successful. http://tinyurl.com/mukts7o
But, as they have many times through the years, the citizens of Canton pulled together. One of the ways they decided to make up for the loss of water was to add more events. The Canton Lake Association officials came up with several new twists.
People in other locations, such as Don Peters in Yukon, spoke up for those in Canton.
“My heart goes out to the folks in western Oklahoma,” he wrote. “They’ve lost the use of Canton Lake for the foreseeable future. Although this entitlement to supply Oklahoma City water was contracted many years ago, I wonder what the forward-thinking stewards of our land and water resources are planning.” http://tinyurl.com/mtc9lnc
On March 11, staff writer and columnist Bryan Painter gave an update in his Weather Blog, based on information supplied by Gary McManus of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. http://tinyurl.com/mzd3z3j
In it, there was a comparison to this year versus last and how the water situation stood throughout the state.
On March 19, the Enid News & Eagle had an updated report on the situation in Canton and how the lake association there was working extra hard to retain visitation numbers. But as the lake level continue to drop, so did attendance.
That required additional efforts from those in Canton. http://tinyurl.com/lcv2jxb
William Crum took a comprehensive look at the question “Is Oklahoma going to run out of water?” on April 15. http://tinyurl.com/l3voasb
He teamed with Painter for an upbeat story on how rains were alleviating drought conditions in many areas of the state. http://tinyurl.com/lkhkxvj
This story noted that recent rains were helping, but not so much in Canton, where the lake was only about 18 percent full after Oklahoma City had drawn the 30,000-acre-feet it got to replenish.
A May 16 story by Crum noted that Oklahoma City’s reservoir levels were 57.4 percent full. Meanwhile, Canton was up only to 20 percent. http://tinyurl.com/lodyawr
Since then, there have been a series of storms with heavy rain. As a result, Hefner is full. But the Associated Press reported just last week that the concerns in Canton are serious. Some there even have said that the lake, with the AP-reported 13 feet below normal level, may never recover. http://tinyurl.com/kpmped9
By the comments readers made to that report, there is some heavy criticism of the move to give Oklahoma City so much Canton Lake water.
It’s a debate that may continue to rage for years.
The Discovery Channel will air Nik Wallenda’s tightrope walk across the Grand Canyon live at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 23.
Details on the broadcast, provided by Discovery Channel, are as follows:
It will be one of the most daring and captivating live events in history — Nik Wallenda, known as “The King of the High Wire,” will traverse the majestic Grand Canyon, without using a harness at 1,500 feet above the Little Colorado River, a height greater than the Empire State Building. The tightrope crossing will take place in a remote section of the canyon operated by the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation.
Follow me on Twitter: @MelissaHayer
All five U.S. House members from Oklahoma voted Tuesday for legislation that would prohibit most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The legislation passed 228 to 196, mostly along party lines. All five of Oklahoma’s House members are Republicans.
Democrats said the bill was unconstitutional and a waste of the House’s time since the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, would not consider it. The Obama administration issued a veto threat of the bill.
Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, said, “Children are a precious gift from God, and we should speak up for the vulnerable who cannot speak for themselves. This bill codifies what most people already believe; a viable child that can experience pain is a unique life that deserves our protection. Science and medicine have rapidly advanced in the past decade, allowing better understanding of child development in the womb and greater opportunity for viability.
“At twenty weeks most parents in Oklahoma have already seen the ultrasound to watch their baby kick and independently move in the womb, determine the baby’s sex and count all their fingers and toes. At this stage the baby can also experience pain. We cannot allow the late-term atrocities performed by Dr. Gosnell in Philadelphia to continue in our country.”
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, “After the recent trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, we are still shaken by the horrors surrounding the abortion industry, especially in late-term pregnancies.
“For the first time, many unsuspecting individuals were uncomfortably introduced to appalling practices and procedures carried out regularly by abortionists in the name of women’s reproductive rights. These are images that will not go away or get easier to view with time. This is the reality of a crooked, horrific industry that endangers women and kills unborn children.”
Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville, said, As a father and a Christian, I know that all life is a gift from God and life begins at the moment of conception.
“I will always vote to defend the sanctity of life.
“The majority of people in the 2nd District are pro-life; and I am honored to be able to stand with them and to be their voice at the national level on this fundamentally important issue.”
The Obama administration’s veto threat says the legislation “would unacceptably restrict women’s health and reproductive rights and is an assault on a woman’s right to choose. Women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care, and Government should not inject itself into decisions best made between a woman and her doctor.
“Forty years ago, the Supreme Court affirmed a woman’s constitutional right to privacy, including the right to choose.
“This bill is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade and shows contempt for women’s health and rights, the role doctors play in their patients’ health care decisions, and the Constitution. The Administration is continuing its efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies, expand access to contraception, support maternal and child health, and minimize the need for abortion. At the same time, the Administration is committed to the protection of women’s health and reproductive freedom and to supporting women and families in the choices they make.”
Give you three words that will make you smile when they actually should make some high school athletes pause and think.
1. National 2. Signing 3. Day.
It’s a national holiday that comes every year that isn’t actually seen in the government’s eyes as a national holiday. But college football fans and high school players across the nation take the day to sit in a gym or watching their Twitter feed fill with more names. National Signing Day is a day known for a bunch of football players signing their national letter of intent, a binding letter between a high school athlete and a school that is a member of the NCAA. And what’s more American that college football?
So every year on the first Wednesday in February, gentleman ink their name and don a hat. Big names and small.
Wes Lunt did it. Eddie Vanderdoes did it. Thousands of student athletes have signed that NLI. But did you know they don’t have to?
There are two things a player must sign: an athletics-aid agreement and the NLI.
That NLI isn’t valid unless a player signs an athletics-aid agreement, which in non-NCAA terms means a scholarship offer.
The NLI signs you to that school, not that coach. Signing the NLI requires you to at least one full academic year (not just one season) with the university.
Am I required to sign a National Letter of Intent?
No, but many student-athletes sign a National Letter of Intent because they want to create certainty in the recruiting process. By signing, you receive a financial aid award (including an athletics scholarship) for the upcoming academic year, provided you are admitted to the institution and eligible for an athletic scholarship under NCAA rules.
Gina Mizell and Jason Kersey wrote all about transfers earlier this week,but what do Wes Lunt and Drew Allen’s transfers have to do with Oklahoma (besides that Allen is a former Oklahoma backup quarterback)?
They signed the NLI. This week, Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples made a case against the Letter of Intent.
“Sign on the dotted line, and you might just lose a year of eligibility,” Staples wrote in the magazine version of the article (what appears online is different).
As Staples writes, it’s not possible for everyone not to sign their NLI. If you’re a big name player, though, that’s who Staples made a case to wait.
“To be clear: A recruit with only a few offers should sign an NLI; he has no leverage not to,” Staples wrote. “But you, the best of the best, are likely facing dozens of offers. And once you set foot on campus, your school and the NCAA will own your likeness and eligibility. Don’t surrender your leverage until you absolutely must.”
In it, Staples talks about how signing the NLI is binding to a student, but after most sign, coaches end up leaving. That’s, again, where Oklahoma plays in to NLIs.
“It is no accident,” Staples wrote, “that universities routinely jettison assistant within a week of national singing day — Oklahoma alone fired three this year — or that coaches often leave for greener pastures right around that time. In 2012, New Mexico defensive coordinator Ron West left for Arizona State just after signing day; then, on Feb. 14 of this year, a week after his recruits were committed, he moved on again, to North Carolina. Were his recruits happy? Of course not. But because they’d signed the NLI they were stuck.
“You don’t have to get stuck. Follow the lead of some of the nation’s top basketball recruits by not singing the NLI, instead inking only the athletics-aid agreement. Then, when your team fires the assistant who reeled you in — or he walks away on his own — the school risks losing you too.”