I've enjoyed, immensely, reading the tributes to Kim Thompson that they've been posting at The Comics Journal, enjoying them almost as much as I have the experience of re-reading the pieces he wrote that are currently available on the site. But I think my favorite moment out of this was reading the immediate response that showed up on the Fantagraphics twitter feed during the day when the news of his passing hit. I don't think I've ever disagreed with any of the criticisms I've ever heard leveled against Twitter, but there was one moment that day when I looked around the store I was standing in, surrounded by books that simply never would have been published, translated, or imagined if it hadn't been for the decades of hard work that Kim put in and I felt like somebody had thrown a sandbag into my stomach. And out of the corner of my eye, there was Fantagraphics, reposting the genuine admiration, respect and love that was pouring out from the people's whose lives his work had touched. It was truly inspiring.
I did not have very much interaction with Kim directly, beyond a short conversation at a convention (about Grotesque, a comic I still feel has never really been given its due) and another brief one about Lewis Trondheim. Except for that, I knew him purely as a fan, and while I have had a chance to deal with him on some more professional levels (through my position at Bergen Street), that is how I have and will always think of him. I loved reading his writing in the Journal so much, and when I look around at the life I have built for myself over the last ten years, I cannot imagine how desolate it would be were it not for the books he has helped shepherd to publication, the artists he has sought out, the languages he mastered. I am, first, foremost and forever, someone who loves to read, and Kim's life has enriched that love on a level that will be populated by only a few. And as sorry as I feel for people like Gary, Eric, Jacq, Kristy and all the rest of those closest to him at Fantagraphics, I can't help but think to myself how lucky all of them must feel--they got to see him all the time. I don't believe there's anything better than that.