Fantagraphics co-publisher Thompson dies

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SEATTLE (AP) — Kim Thompson — co-publisher of the influential Seattle-based publisher Fantagraphics Books known for celebrated alternative comics, graphic novels and comic strip anthologies — has died.

Fantagraphics announced Thompson's death Wednesday, four months after he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was 56.

Fantagraphics has been publishing since 1976, beginning with literary and comics, journalism and essays, and then comics, graphic novels, anthologies and translations of works from other languages. Many of its titles are some of the best known among readers and collectors of graphic novels and books, with works like "Love and Rockets" by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez; Daniel Clowes' "Ghost World" and the "Acme Novelty Library."

Thompson was born in Denmark and moved to the U.S. when he was 21 in 1977. Soon after arriving, Thompson met Gary Groth and Michael Catron, who founded Fantagraphics. He began contributing to "The Comics Journal" soon after.

Along with Groth, Thompson was one of the leaders in bringing adult themes and diverse characters into comics, along with stripping the focus on superheroes.

Thompson's fluency in languages helped him translate several key editions of European titles into English, giving works by creators like Jacques Tardi, Ulli Lust and Guy Peelaert a wider audience for their creations.

Thompson is survived by his wife, Lynn Emmert, mother, father and his brother.