When Fantagraphics co-publisher Kim Thompson died earlier this year, the company suffered more than just the loss of one of its key figures. As an editor, Thompson was responsible for a great deal of the translation and distribution of European comics, and with his sudden, unexpected diagnosis of lung cancer and his death just four months later, the publisher had to delay a third of their line. As you might expect, this caused a pretty significant financial shortfall.

Now, the company is turning to its readers to make up the difference. In order to support their Spring line of titles, including work by Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Floyd Gottfredson, Don Rosa, Dan Clowes, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez and more, they're attempting to raise $150,000 via Kickstarter. Check out more information, as well as a very, very strange Kickstarter video, below.


It might seem a little strange that a company with perennial best-sellers like the Peanuts hardcovers and Disney reprints -- not to mention critically acclaimed art comics from the likes of the Hernandez Bros., Ed Piskor and Dan Clowes -- would be having trouble making ends meet, but the loss of a third of the line is nothing to sneeze at. On top of that, it's obvious just from looking at them that a lot of work goes into the books Fantagraphics puts out. When it comes to producing physical objects, I can't think of a publisher that operates at a high level as consistently as Fanta, where nearly everything they put out has an incredible sense of design and extra features put into them.

As marketing manager Jen Vaughn said when reached for a comment about the Kickstarter, "Fantagraphics has always printed amazing comics with high-quality production values. We always scrape by so that you can read the world's finest funny books on paper so buttery thick it can absorb the ocean." Maybe not the words I would've picked, but pretty accurate nonetheless.

Still, it's an unprecedented move, but one of the things taking the edge off is that it's essentially functioning as a large-scale preorder campaign for next year's titles. There are a few reward tiers built around workshops on how to critique and edit comics, portfolio reviews and the genuinely terrifying prospect of letting Johnny Ryan alter your personal photographs, but the vast majority of them are just preorders for signed copies of upcoming titles. That tends to be how Kickstarter functions for most comics projects, but it's interesting to see it done on this scale, with this many titles.

In the few short hours that it's been up, the Fantagraphics kickstarter has raised 10% of its goal. It runs until December 5.