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Author Topic: RIP - Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. Remembrances  (Read 4295 times)

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Offline Yoc

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Re: RIP - Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. Remembrances
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2023, 11:43:08 AM »
The following touching post was recently shared by KEN QUATTRO on his Facebook page -

I haven't been online much recently for a number of reasons. None of that matters right this instance except to explain why it wasn't until late Thursday night that I found out about the death of my friend, Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr.
It's almost redundant referring to Jim as my friend, since he seemed to be friends with everybody involved with comics. Fans, historians, pros. Everybody knew Jim and I've yet to meet anyone who didn't like him. He was just that kind of guy.
Many knew Jim far longer and better than I did. My connection to him began back in the 1990s when I first signed onto the internet and encountered him in various comics related groups. I'd long known his name—as a publisher, writer and historian—but one of the true benefits of internet life was being able to finally communicate with people whom I'd only know remotely.
I can't remember exactly what our first exchange was, but I'm sure it was in regard to Doug Wildey. Wildey, longtime comic and animation artist, was someone that I felt has been overlooked by fans. The myopia of many limits their appreciation of comic books to the superhero genre and Wildey's work occurred outside that. He worked on almost everything else—war, fantasy, science fiction—but especially Westerns. That was his where his heart was, and it showed.
As I did my research, one of the publications I sought was THE MOVIE COWBOY, a large portfolio of selected Wildey artwork depicting various actors in Western garb. The artwork inside was beautiful and lovingly reproduced, particularly considering it came out in 1971. And the man behind its publication was Jim.
I contacted him for some historical info regarding the publication and about Wildey himself. Jim, of course, knew Wildey and provided some tidbits. He also gave me advice on what direction to take in my research. That would be the first, but not the last, time Jim would graciously share his wisdom with me. And every time I took it to heart.
Over the years I went to Jim often. Yet, we never spoke, not even by phone. All our communications came via email or through group interaction. I don't know why, other than the fact that we lived in different time zones and linking up seemed easier with email. I regret that today.
Jim and I and eventually, Hames Ware, had an ongoing triad of shared comics history interest. The three of us would cross email one another about obscure artists and comics that nobody else seemed to care about at the time. He helped me tremendously when I first began looking into the Bernard Baily studio. He was instrumental in my Matt Baker research. And any time I had questions about art identification, Jim was the first person I contacted. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, had a better eye for art identification than Jim. It was uncanny and generally, subsequent research would confirm his guesses. Amazing!
From my perspective, Jim didn't seem to suffer fools lightly. In our earliest exchanges, whenever I made assumptions about some historical event, he would politely, but firmly, recommend that I dig further for more information before moving forward. I never forgot that advice and it became the bedrock of my research and writing as time went on.
I finally get Jim's respect with my research into William Ekgren. Ekgren was the artist of three mind-blowing covers for St. John Publications circa 1952-1953. I'd always been fascinated with these standalone artistic outliers. They looked like no other comic book artwork at the time, or since. So, as I delved into Ekgren's story, I naturally went to my greatest source. Jim.
I asked Jim what he knew about Ekgren, and I'll forget his reply. “Ken, he is the most obscure of obscure artists.” For once, Jim had nothing to add.
Undeterred, I kept hunting, and I actually found the aged artist living in Sweden and we began our own exchange of letters. You can find the Ekgren article(s) that eventually resulted in several places; they've been printed and reprinted repeatedly. For me, though, the most satisfying aspect of this research was that Jim was impressed and he told me so. I felt validated.
Ever after, Jim and I communicated as peers. He willingly shared what he knew and even his comic book collection if needed. I recall being stunned at how he casually sent me packages of rare comics to help with my research. And he shared my disdain for slabbing comics which rendered them unavailable for historical research.
Along those same lines, Jim will be forever remembered for sharing his collection with “Comic Book Plus” and “Digital Comic Museum.” His incredibly magnanimous gesture of allowing his personal collection to be scanned for enjoyment by fans and research for historians is possibly the single most generous contribution to comics history EVER!
Jim also sent me gift packages upon occasion. Obscure items that otherwise I'd never be able to obtain, and he sent them to me gratis and without prior notification. They just showed up at my door and I would be stunned by his generosity. But that was Jim.
I could go on, but I think you get the gist. Jim was one of a kind. Generous, kind, wise and brilliant.
There are others who knew Jim personally and my sadness doesn't equal their grief. I'll miss our communications, but most of all, I'll miss the man. Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. was one of a kind and we will never see his like again.
Rest in peace, my friend.

A touching post.  Thanks for letting us share it here Ken.

Digital Comic Museum

Re: RIP - Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. Remembrances
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2023, 11:43:08 AM »