Monday, May 13, 2013

Author Bio: Craig Thompson

This week, we're reading Blankets, an autobiographical graphic novel by Craig Thompson.

Born in Michigan in 1975 and raised in Wisconsin with a brother and sister, Thompson grew up in a fundamentalist Christian family, where all media was heavily censored or banned by his parents. He was, however, allowed to read the comics in the paper, which is when he probably grew to love the comics medium.

When he went to college at University of Wisconsin - Marathon County, he produced a comic for the school's paper, solidifying his love of comics. He switched to the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design for a semester, then moved to Portland, OR.

Thompson worked at Dark Horse Comics for a while, creating ads, logos, and packaging for toys, and he worked on personal projects in his spare time. He developed tendinitis, and left DHC to focus on his personal work.


His first published book was the semi-autobiographical graphic novel Goodbye, Chunky Rice, in 1999. Later that year, he began work on Blankets, which was published in 2003. Blankets is also autobiographical, serving as a tool to explain to his family that he was no longer a Christian. It was a huge hit, which Thompson partially credits to the fact that he wrote something that was neither a punch-em-up action hero comic nor cynical and nihilist, two things the graphic novel and comics market was absolutely saturated with at the time (and, in my opinion, continues to be today, to a slightly lesser degree).


In 2004, Thompson published Carnet de Voyage, a travelogue and collection of sketches from a trip to France. Then he began work on Habibi, published in September 2011. Habibi is set in a beautiful Islamic fairytale landscape, telling a love story and also acting like a parable. It has been met with a great deal of praise, but also with controversy, mostly because of its frankness about sexuality and its treatment of Arab culture, calling Thompson's use of Arabic without fully understanding it "cultural appropriation."

He is currently working on Space Dumplins, to be released in 2014. He calls it an all-ages book that he wants to work like a Pixar film (something for everybody). To see what else he's up to, or to read more about him and his work, check out his website:

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