Gary is an a comic book editor, publisher and critic. He is editor-in-chief of The Comics Journal and a co-founder of Fantagraphics Books.
Inspired by film critics like Andrew Sarris and Pauline Kael, and gonzo journalists like Hunter S. Thompson, the teenage Gary Groth published Fantastic Fanzine, a comics fanzine (whose name referenced the Marvel Comics title Fantastic Four). For two years, in 1970 and 1971, he organised Metro Con, a comics convention held in Washington, D.C. Later, after turning down an editorial assistant position at Marvel Comics in 1973, Groth worked briefly as a production and layout assistant at the movie and comics magazine Mediascene, which was edited by Jim Steranko.
After dropping out of his fourth college in 1974, Gary and his financial partner Michael Catron put on a rock and roll convention that ended in financial failure. Nonetheless, he and Catron dabbled in music publishing with the short-lived magazine Sounds Fine.
In 1976, Gary founded Fantagraphics Books, Inc. with Catron and Kim Thompson, and took over an adzine named The Nostalgia Journal—quickly renaming it The Comics Journal. Groth’s Comics Journal applied rigorous critical standards to comic books. It disparaged formulaic superhero books and work for hire publishers and favoured artists like R. Crumb and Art Spiegelman and creator ownership of copyrights, It featured lengthy, freewheeling interviews with comics professionals, often conducted by Groth himself.