Mike Friedrich, Marvel’s first employee focused on sales to the comics Direct Market in the early 1980s, first creator agent in the comics business, and co-founder of WonderCon, shared this obituary of Mel Thompson.

Melchior (Mel) Thompson (1949-2023) passed away on June 25, according to his wife Nell Lee Stinson.  The cause of death was an infection in his brain.

A chance encounter in the mid-1980’s with comics industry professional Mike Friedrich at the wedding of a mutual college friend led to Mel serving the comics retailing and publishing fields for over three decades.  Mel initially provided customer research for publishers and store location services for new and expanding retailers.  Later he singlehandedly developed Comtrac, the first comics-specific Point of Sale software.

"Mel Thompson’s contributions to the health of the burgeoning ‘80s and ‘90s comics specialty market are undeniable and profound," said Joe Field, owner of Flying Colors Comics in Concord, California. "Mel was one of my secret weapons in the formation and opening of Flying Colors, as a consultant for market research and site location services.  Bits of wisdom I gleaned from Mel still resonate with me more than 35 years later."

"Mel was dedicated to growing the direct market. We owe him more than can be measured," said Joe Ferrara, owner of Atlantis Fantasyworld in Santa Cruz, California.

Mel was an avid backpacker in his younger days as well as a professional choir singer.  He is survived by his wife and three adult children.  Donations can be made in his name to the Yosemite Conservancy.

For further information, contact Mike Friedrich at mikefriedrich99@gmail.com.

Thompson was a key figure in the growth of the comics Direct Market, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.  For more on Thompson, this important anniversary, and the history of the comics Direct Market, see "Comics Direct Market 50th Anniversary."

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