Craig Thompson is an artist who to most people just exploded out of nowhere. While a fortunate few already knew about him thanks to his mini-comics, most readers (myself included) were introduced to him when his debut graphic novel, Goodbye, Chunky Rice, was published by Top Shelf in 1999. It’s about a turtle moving away from those he loves, and both the physical and emotional journey.
From that point on, everyone was all, “What’s he going to do next?” and when I got this sketch, his follow-up (clocking in at 600 pages) Blankets had just debuted that weekend, a book about first love. I remember him apologizing as he drew this for me, saying that his hand had been cramping from signing and sketching in everyone’s books, and that it wasn’t as elaborate as he wanted it to be. But I love it, and it’s small and sweet and to the point.
I’m happy that his new book, Habibi, is set for this fallâ€”it’s been too long since Thompson’s last book. (He did publish a travel journal since then, Carnet de Voyage, about the trip he took to do research for Habibi.) If nothing else it means he might start hitting conventions again, and the soft-spoken Thompson being out there has been a face I’ve missed.