Kim and I were friends. I can say that proudly. His passing is a complete shock and so sudden, I am flabbergasted.
Way too young.
He could have given the comics world so much more.
We had somewhat similar roots, growing up in Europe and especially with French comics. We compared notes frequently on those, Gil Jourdan a good example. Like him, I was breathlessly reading that series as a kid, emulating it in early comics writing I would do, making sure to meet author Maurice Tillieux at every occasion, my signed ‘albums’ remaining a proud piece of my collection. Like him, I was a huge fan of Spirou and developed an early almost encyclopedic knowledge of its history.
I told him he was crazy to even try to publish those here. I mean, they’re just so French, really.
For a few years, we shared booths in Frankfurt and we would hang out. One could see quickly he was an unusually intelligent and grounded person. He may not have necessarily been the most warm and approachable but, as for Gary Groth, you could not but respect the breadth of his knowledge, the good sense he applied in co-running Fantagraphics.
Gary, you two were a remarkable pair and you two led your publishing co. to amazing heights of cultural significance and influence.