Best Local Publisher: Fantagraphics

Fantagraphics recently suffered the loss of its co-publisher, Kim Thompson, to cancer. In a dark irony, the 37-year-old company has never been healthier or more successful. Gary Groth soldiers on, the Georgetown bookstore and art gallery regularly receives famous visitors (Dan Clowes, Joe Sacco, the Hernandez brothers, etc.), and the company’s website—it was an early adapter—has paradoxically helped keep ink alive in the digital era. In addition to handsome, hardbound collector’s volumes of Charles Schulz and R. Crumb, Fanta has delved into e-books and other product lines. Having relocated here in 1989 at the height of the grunge era, the publisher is truly one of our city’s best-known brands. Among an important sector of literate Americans who favor comics and graphic novels, the name is as recognizable as Boeing or Starbucks. Which is not to say it’s ever gone corporate, or ever will. It’s the Sub Pop of publishing, though Groth would probably argue the other way around.

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