Comic book editor and publisher. Groth is the co-owner of Fantagraphics Books, one of the most influential publishers of independent and small-press comics. Without Fantagraphics, we wouldn't have ever seen the Hernandez Brothers' "Love and Rockets" or Peter Bagge's "Hate" or Dan Clowes' "Eightball." Groth is also the editor of the Comics Journal, which rejects the "drooling fanboy" approach to comics and insists that comics should be read and reviewed the way you'd read a work of fine literature and art.

Groth is strongly opinionated, which can be good when he's defending a neglected comics master or promoting an up-and-coming star, but in general, he comes across as not a very nice guy at all. He is the epitome of the angry, arrogant, faux intellectual, but inherently classless fanboy stereotype. He prefers to denounce his many enemies with invective, cheap shots, and slander. Though he's been a tireless crusader for Comics-as-an-Art-Form and was the primary force behind the movement to give comics vet Jack Kirby more credit and more money for his work for Marvel and DC, he's been most notable for his closed-mindedness and his constant courting of controversy. He once published a column attacking Carol Kalish, a Marvel exec -- apparently, Kalish made herself a target by dying, and thus being unable to sue for libel. He denounced sci-fi god Harlan Ellison because of disagreements the two had after they were both sued by another comics writer (and Harlan doesn't like being denounced; he tends to respond to criticism by opening up on the critic with both barrels -- the ongoing Groth/Ellison feud has sold a bunch of copies of the Journal). Groth has also denounced: acclaimed comics guru Scott McCloud because McCloud likes online comics; comics visionary Frank Miller because Miller writes about superheroes (Groth hates superheroes with far more passion than is healthy) and because Groth thinks Miller is a conservative and hence, a fascist; beloved comics vet Will Eisner, primarily because Groth needed to denounce someone prominent to get the Journal's readership up; and dozens and dozens of others, for crimes both great and small, real and imagined.

Groth seems to believe that all independent comics (and in particular, all comics from Fantagraphics) are works of genius, while all comics from larger companies are crap. He believes the most offensive thing a comic book can do is be mediocre -- too bad his definition of "mediocre" is so arbitrary...

Much research from "The Comic Book Heroes" by Gerard Jones and Will Jacobs, copyright 1997