Richard Kyle, an important figure in the history of the comic book medium, passed away on the morning of December 10th at the age of 87. Not only did Kyle coin the now ubiquitous phrase "graphic novel," but for many years Kyle was the proprietor of Richard Kyle Books, the best comic book/science fiction store in Southern California. When I was attending CSU Long Beach from 1994 to 1996, I missed more than one class thanks to the lure of Kyle and his bookstore, which offered a much better education than any university could ever hope to provide.
Mark Evanier, creator of Crossfire, DNAgents and other fine independent comic books, recently posted a moving obituary about Kyle on his website, News from ME. Evanier goes into some detail regarding Kyle's various milestones. For example, while Kyle was publishing the short-lived reincarnation of Argosy Magazine, he commissioned and published one of the finest short stories ever produced by the legendary comic book artist, Jack Kirby. That story is called "Street Code," and you can read more about it on Evanier's website by clicking HERE.
Journalist Heidi MacDonald, who writes regularly for The Beat, has more to say about Kyle's legacy HERE.
Only a few hours ago, Bleeding Cool published further memories of Kyle and his bookstore HERE.
If you're at all interested in the comic book medium and have never heard of Richard Kyle and his accomplishments, I suggest seeking out Bill Schelly's excellent
two-part interview with Kyle (entitled "Of Graphic Stories
& Wonderworlds") recently published in Alter Ego Magazine #115 and
#117. The interview contains Kyle's illuminating recollections
regarding the early days of comic book fandom. Many of Kyle's opinions,
particularly his 1960s assessments of once-obscure artists like
Fletcher Hanks, have turned out to be eerily prescient.
Richard Kyle, Rest In Peace....