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RIP - Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. Remembrances

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Yoc: banner78 -RIP-JVJ-animated.gifPhotos featured in this banner by GEO and Soothsayr, both members of the JVJ Project.
Hello everyone,
We've recently leaned about the passing of Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr., (October 24, 1946 - July 7, 2023), one of the most trusting, knowledgeable and generous people you could meet.  I'm creating this topic as a place for JVJ Project members and other fans or friends of Jim can leave a post.  His presence is felt all over the site.

Back in 2006 a group of collectors started the ‘Golden Age Comics’ (GAC) site.  Their goal was to share as many comics in the public domain as could be found and scanned.  The site was pretty darn good and the collection impressive.  But without doubt the biggest event of the GAC era was when Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr, (JVJ) joined the site on September 19, 2008 and offered to let us, a group of complete strangers, scan from his huge collection of comics for sharing on the site.  “My comics are MEANT to be used and read and scanned and PLAYED WITH.”  With thousands of comics to share Jim knew it would take years to complete but as he said back in 2008, "Who cares how long it takes when you're working for posterity?"

Jim sent out his first box to us just five days later!  We dubbed it The JVJ PROJECT!  It was mind blowing then and still is when you consider in the end he let us scan about 4500 of his comics!  Jim was also an exceptionally gifted art spotter.  He included index cards with artist data for many of the books we shared which would also help update entries for each on the Grand Comics Database (GCD) site.  The JVJ Project ran eight years ending in December 2016 when Jim sold his incredible collection.  But before doing that he allowed us to make a huge push and scan a final 600 books!  We GA comic fans can not thank Jim enough for taking a chance with us.  Together we went a long way to filling so many holes in the collection.  To learn more about the JVJ Project including those involved you can read all about it at this link.

Comics, illustrated magazines, novels, posters, artwork...  he had it.  Jim was a fan of all of them.  Perhaps most important to comic readers out there, Jim was also a Collector!  Jim was proud of the fact “I have never paid more than $40 for a comic book in my life.”  He bought books in any condition.  Over the decades (he was 73 years-old in 2020) he managed to amass a huge collection of material... you name it he had it.  His comics numbered in the thousands and best of all - he believed they should be read and was willing to share them!

If you look at the credits pages of dozens of books written about comics in the last couple of decades you are likely to see Jim get a mention.  He lent out his books to several writers and publishers for like Tachen, Fantagraphics, Yoe Books and many others.  And he would help with authors with questions on all aspects of comics history when asked.  He wanted to see more accuracy for instance sharing his index cards and making corrections on the Grand Comics Database.

The years of collecting these items led him becoming an accomplished art spotter.  One of the most respected such spotter ever!  He would learn to spot artists and inkers and their subtle changes in style over their careers and the affects of different inkers on their work.  He would work with other such art spotters like the late Hames Ware whom he exchanged comics and index cards trying to list the artists found inside the books in question.  You can see many of his index cards at the end of books in the collection with (JVJ) in their name.  Jim was also a co-editor of Jerry Bails' Who's Who of American Comic Books.  In the 70s he was part of 'Promethean Enterprises' and by 2001 he started JVJ Publishing and The Vadeboncoeur Collection of ImageS Magazine.

There are others out there that know Jim's history much better than I do.  I hope they will add their thoughts to this topic in their own replies.

I see on the GCD site he won a  Harvey Award in 2006 - for Best Domestic Reprint Project - Little Nemo in Slumberland [So Many Splendid Sundays] (2005 series) #[nn]

Here is a gallery of some pictures he shared on his Facebook page over the years. message pictures/JVJ_pics/JVJ 1971.jpg message pictures/JVJ_pics/JVJ - with Bob Napier and Lance Casebeer 1982.08.jpg message pictures/JVJ_pics/1999.09-CBM 071-pg007.jpg message pictures/JVJ_pics/Comic Book Wall.jpg message pictures/JVJ_pics/From halfway down the hallway.jpg           1                      2                        3                        4                       5

#1 - Jim in 1971
"...taken by either Bob Foster or Vince Davis (the mind weakens) in Doug Wildey's studio."

#2 - 1982.08
Jim with Bob Napier and Lance Casebeer at a 1982 con.

#3 - in Comicbook Marketplace #71
1999.09-CBM #071-pg007

#4 - Jim's wall of comics 2014.  Photo by Geo.

#5 - Another of Jim and his comics wall. Photo by Geo. message pictures/JVJ_pics/Jim in the flesh.jpg message pictures/JVJ_pics/indexcards.jpg message pictures/JVJ_pics/JVJ and Tilliban 2014.jpg message pictures/JVJ_pics/JVJ and Sooth in Paris 07.2017.jpg message pictures/JVJ_pics/JVJ in Paris.jpg             6                       7                      8                       9                      10

#6 - Jim and his wall of comics 2014. Photo by Geo.

#7 - Jim's famous index cards.

#8 - Jim took his food serious. :)
Here with German JVJ Project member Tilliban in Paris, 2014.

#9 - JVJ Project member Soothsayr and Jim in Paris, 2017.

#10 - Jim in Paris, 2017. message pictures/JVJ_pics/Jim portrait by ERK.jpg message pictures/JVJ_pics/JVJ-his books.jpg message pictures/JVJ_pics/JVJ 2014 - by Davy Lim.jpg message pictures/JVJ_pics/Kim Jung Gi portrait 2016.jpg message pictures/JVJ_pics/JVJ in 2020 age 73.jpg           11                     12                    13                      14                    15

#11 - Jim artwork by Everett Raymond Kinstler
This is the image that JVJ used as his avatar from his first day joining GAC in 2008.

#12 - Jim's publications.
Jim produced a lovely artbook on ERK's comic book career.  'Everett Raymond Kinstler: The Artist's Journey Through Popular Culture - 1942-1962' (2005).

#13 - Jim portrait by Davy Lim (2014)
"This piece, from 2014, was thrust upon me by the artist, who offered to draw me gratis. It was a slow day and he was going to drum up some business by making a portrait of me."

#14 - Kim Jung Gi portrait 2016.
"By Korean super-artist Kim Jung Gi appears in his album 'Spy Games' and was drawn as I stood across the signing table from him - i.e. he was looking at me face on."

#15 - From 2020 after his surgery.

Our condolences to Jim's family and many, many friends.
Rest in peace Jim.

Reposting this from the obituary thread...

This was not unexpected, but still very sad.  JVJ's contribution to comics history was enormous, and that's without even considering his extreme generosity in letting us scan so many of his books for here and Comic Book Plus.

I'm proud to have been one of the JVJ scanning team.  In a few cases, he had duplicates of the books he sent out to scan, and simply gifted the extra copies to the scanners.  So I treasure my copy of Tales from the Great Book #3 as having been from his collection.  He will be enormously missed.

Dave Hayward:
So sorry to hear of the death of JVJ, although given all of the problems that he'd had with his health over the last few years, not totally unexpected, but even so, it still comes as a shock to the system.

Although I didn't know Jim personally, I did get to understand him a little via the amazing number of his comics generously allowed to be scanned by others and I got to edit an assortment of them when Yoc persuaded me to have a go at editing some.

Not many people would have the faith to send off boxes and boxes of comics to who were more or less total strangers, but Jim was a kindly soul and without him sites like the DCM and CB+ would be lacking a lot of what there currently is posted.

Rest in peace, Jim! The comics world is going to be a lot poorer without you.

Jim was a lovely and engaging man....when he was feeling out scanners for his public domain project,  he had me call him, and we ended up talking for over 4 hours.  We talked about comics, early magazine illustration, newspaper comics, Disney films, the man was a wealth of knowledge on such a wide variety or topics and such a wonderful conversationalist.  Being able to spend time taking with him about artists and inkers and getting a chance to work on those books.   I was able to scan at least 15 St John titles and worked with  Darwin who edited the scans. Working with Jim and his books really are some of my favorite memories.   He had a lot of challenges the past few years and I know moving back to the States was hard for him.  He is now at peace, Godspeed Good. sir..❤️

Much of what I wanted to say has been said here.  I was a recipient of Jim's sharing of material to be scanned, and how he found me trustworthy of sending out material which probably was valued in the thousands to someone across the country from him, I will never know.  Jim was generous with his sharing and with his time.  I was new to photoshop and editing techniques, and, of course, Jim was a wizard from his work preserving turn-of-the-century published art.  He taught me most of what I know, some which was technical beyond my grasp.  It was Jim's generosity which led me to start collecting Golden Age material, specifically material which 1) wasn't already on the DCM site, or needed improvement, and 2) which was within my grasp price-wise.

I also wanted to say that his lifestyle...passion and energy about the things he loved (comic art among them) and his balancing work and pleasure (his long visits in France) made a mark on me


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