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Author Topic: RIP - Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. Remembrances  (Read 6082 times)

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Offline Yoc

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RIP - Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. Remembrances
« on: July 08, 2023, 10:14:48 PM »
https://digitalcomicmuseum.com/images/DCM banner78 -RIP-JVJ-animated.gif
Photos 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.

           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.


             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.

           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.
-Yoc

Digital Comic Museum

RIP - Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. Remembrances
« on: July 08, 2023, 10:14:48 PM »

Offline OtherEric

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Re: RIP - Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. Remembrances
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2023, 11:01:57 PM »
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.

Offline Dave Hayward

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Re: RIP - Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. Remembrances
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2023, 11:22:34 PM »
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.

Offline Twobyfour

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Re: RIP - Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. Remembrances
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2023, 04:33:50 AM »
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..❤️

Offline builderboy

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Re: RIP - Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. Remembrances
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2023, 09:43:04 AM »
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

Offline Yoc

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Re: RIP - Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. Remembrances
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2023, 02:14:17 PM »
Nicely said guys.  Thank-you for sharing your thoughts and memories.

-Yoc

Offline OtherEric

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Re: RIP - Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. Remembrances
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2023, 05:09:38 PM »
A very nice banner, Yoc.  Thank you.

Offline narfstar

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Re: RIP - Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. Remembrances
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2023, 04:28:29 AM »
I of course remember the many comments Jim made to contribute to ongoing comic discussions. But what I most remember is handling some of the rarest and most valuable comics that I will likely ever hold. Jim knew that those precious gems were being lowered in condition and did not care. He wanted the comic wanders shared. Selfless contributor he was.

Offline Yoc

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Re: RIP - Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. Remembrances
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2023, 07:26:51 PM »
Here's a recent post on Facebook from Dr. Michael J. Vassallo (DOC V),
about JVJ that he's graciously given me permission to share here.
Michael is a preeminent expert on Timely Comics and all things Martin Goodman published.
Co-author of 'The Secret History of Marvel Comics' (2013) with Blake Bell.

===
Doc V:
Quote
I first became friends with Jim through Bob Beerbohm, who back in the late 1990's insisted I reach out to him as our researching lines were intersected at Timely/Atlas, and Jim was known as the father of Atlas indexing, having amassed a near complete collection of all titles and issues.

Jim had a long history in fandom going back to the 1960's, contributing to APAs and in that particular community of researchers and indexers of the pre-internet days. I was never part of that community. I came in two decades later and worked alone, struggling for years, indexing my own Atlas collection, while to duplicate Jim's feat of building the entire output and having all its data recorded.

But I was a novice. Jim's vast knowledge was accumulated at a time when thousands and thousands of books across all companies could be had for a few dollars each. He was able to build an encyclopedic mental ability to spot artists on sight, as well as to distinguish obscure penciler/inker combinations, teaching me how an artist's style can change over time, and to be able to spot an artist, you have to go back to their beginning and follow them forward. I used what he taught me to be able to spot Gene Colan's Timely work on sight, it looking nothing like his work just 5 years later. But in sifting through it all, you can see the incremental changes. THis is also how I approached the work of Christopher Rule and George Klein. I remember asking Jim to please show me a panel of "pure" George Klein, pencils and inks. Once seen, it was a revelation to me how easily I could spot him, pencils "or" inks, anywhere.
Jim often worked in partnership with his close friend, Hames Ware, another master of art spotting, someone who possessed more knowledge of 1940's humor and funny-animal artists than anyone in the world. Hames knew the memberships of every comic shop that existed in the late 1930's and early 1940's, and could identify nearly every artist. Hames was an editor on Jerry bails' original Who's Who. He knew the staffs of the animation studios cold, and could match animation artists moonlighting in the comic book industry immediately. Together, Hames and Jim were the Mount Rushmore of 1940's and 1950's comic art knowledge. They were the absolute peak. The greatest.

In 1998 I e-mailed Jim on the urging of Bob. I asked Jim a slew of questions about the late 1940's Timely bullpen, explaining that the story art was mostly unidentifiable to me. Jim's response was to laugh and agree with me. While he could pick out artists here and there, the vast amount didn't seem to match up to anyone elsewhere in the industry.

After much back and forth e-mailing, exchanging scores of photocopies in the mail (this was pre-easy image sharing online) JIm asked me whether I was interested in working on a Timely project he and Hames were planning, a deep study of the earliest Timely humor comics, something no one had ever really done before. I jumped at the chance! The way it worked was Jim would index the first 20 issues of Krazy Komics, Comedy Comics and Terrytoons, then send the 60 books on the Hames, who would do the same. Hames then sent the books to me, and I did the same. After about 6 months, in several rounds of e-mails, we then compared all of our notes and came to some definitive decisions on what we saw and what we thought.
The entire process was an eye-opening revelation to me. Hames was able to spot animation artists, Jim was zeroing in on known Timely staffers and I was able to actually contribute against their much vaster knowledge, they agreeing with many of my ideas and art spotting choices. I was able to bring to the table a better idea of how the Timely bullpen was run, gained from a score of interviews I had conducted with Timely staffers in the early 1990's. So I accumulated scores of pages of notes and printed out e-mails as the both of them speculated and ruminated on Timely artistic history.

Flash forward another 10 years and I was in charge of compiling credits for Marvel's Timely Masterworks program. I recruited both Jim and Hames to help me. Armed with full runs of Timely hero comics images, the three of us went through every issue of every Timely comic being reprinted, in the same round-robin method, coming up with the most accurate assessment of the credits ever done. As this was going on, I realized that there was so much comic book art history being bantered back and forth, that I had to print out all of it so it wouldn't be buried in thousands of e-mails I'd never look through again. I'm glad I did as it would be nigh-impossible to do so now, especially since much of the 1990's, early 2000's e-mails are gone.
I have thousands of pages of correspondence with Jim and Hames. 7 years ago, Jim decided to send me much of his early Timely research. It consisted of notes he took with Hames decades ago when they had a short window of opportunity to view a near-complete Timely hero collection. The notes are hand-written, typed, and on scores of index cards. he felt they should be in my hands, and to correct and update them as I saw fit. They raced through the books, quickly art-spotting on the fly. A lot of it were guesses, corrected much later by ourselves in the 2000's, but they are an invaluable window to how their minds worked. This material and what I've subsequently been able to do myself, is the world's largest repository of Timely knowledge in the world

Jim was a member of this group and early on a frequent contributor. I believe he was also on the earlier mailing list version of the group. I loved our online battles and arguments here. It was just so much fun. As his personal life got complicated, and his health deteriorated, I saw him less and less on social media. He did post about his health and I realized things were serious, but time just moved on. His last post about a month ago was a ring of finality, so I knew the end was coming.

I will miss Jim (and Hames) a great deal. They cannot be replaced. That kind of scholarship, built over decades and ten of thousands of comic books and tens of thousands of hours studying them, cannot be duplicated in the age of manufactured commodities and slab prisons. His work is all around me here and is imbued in everything I do going forward. And I thank him for that.

A gallery of pics he shared in the same Facebook message:

Many thanks to Doc V for letting us share his post here with everyone.
-Yoc

Offline Yoc

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Re: RIP - Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. Remembrances
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2023, 08:26:45 PM »
The Comics Journal have posted an obit for JVJ at this link:
https://www.tcj.com/jim-vadeboncoeur-jr-1946-2023/

Offline Yoc

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Re: RIP - Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. Remembrances
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2023, 08:39:21 PM »
During Jim’s recent illness he lost control of his internet domain, but with the help of The Wayback Machine we still have access to his dozens of biographies from a wide range of illustrators.

https://web.archive.org/web/20200226030953/http://bpib.com/illustra.htm

Offline tilliban

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Re: RIP - Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. Remembrances
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2023, 05:30:33 AM »
Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. – An American in Paris

Beginnings are always  blurry to me. I can’t really remember how I got in contact with Jim. Wait, he answered a question I had posted on the DCM forum and helped me identify artists from the 1950s. Cause I was knee deep in researching pre-code horror comics back then.

Next, he offered me a free version of a Photoshop software program to make my own scans at home (and make them good)! This was July 2011. A lively correspondence about artists ensued. Only weeks later he invited me over to Paris (France) to discuss a batch of comic books by publishing house ACE. So I went with my wife and daughter to a short holiday in Paris – and I do remember very well what happened next.

We arrived on the doorstep of Rue Legendre on the 24th October 2011, his birthday! Pure coincidence, but we came with a bottle of cheap champagne and toasted with Jim in company of his long-time fiancée Karen. Both were the sweetest couple and Jim a perfect gentleman. We ‚hit it off‘ (as you Americans say) instantly and become comic book buddies.
Soon we developed a ritual: Jim would be flying back and forth to the US and bring me boxes of books from his collection stored in his house in Palo Alto, California. I then would come to Paris (usually twice a year) and we would thumb through each single book page by page identifying and writing (indexing) down the artists. Data I later punched into the Grand Comics Database.

We had some fine French bread, cheese and wine to keep us alert in those hours he trained me to ‚spot art‘. I was kind of his apprentice in this detective work. A dynamic duo, indeed. Jim let me crash on his couch and we kept going for days.

We called this ritual ‚playing comics‘ and enjoyed it both enormously. Happy days. Of course we went out for walks, for meals, for tours around the city. Gentleman Jim striding along the streets in his fast gait, me keeping up as much as possible. An American in Paris, friendly to everyone and open-minded.

I remember his vexation with wine. We used to visit his wine dealer, who owned a wine cellar, a true cave underneath the city. There he bought old wines, because he only drank those from before 1970 (I think that was the cut-off date). And, man, can they be expensive. We opened bottles close to 200 dollar apiece and he shared generously.

Jim always was a person who sought contact with others. He talked to his neighbours in Paris, to the crew from the bakery around the corner, restaurant owners, comic book store owners, gallery owners, tourists, resident artists etc. etc.
Through him, I got the chance to meet Frederic Manzano (author and editor of a string of gorgeous art books) and Patrice Louinet (a Frenchman and whaddaya know: the world’s leading authority on Robert E. Howard)! He also introduced me to the wonderful Karen Green, the curator from Columbia University, NYC.
(I was a bit miffed that he didn't introduce me to the French comics pioneers he got to know: Jean-Pierre Dionnet, Philippe Druillet and Florence Cestac. He was acquainted with the great Moebius, too …) But then again, I was only for a few days at a time in his company.

Jim strolled through every corner of that enormous city, knew every subway stop and every bus line. He photo-documented Paris in thousands of pictures in hundreds of hours walking from Sacre Coeur to the Musee d’Orsay and around all the numerous flea markets. He loved that city!

We continued our visiting, art-spotting, indexing and book-scanning activities for some years – until the pandemic cut off all ties. No, we were done with the books before, but we didn’t see each other again after 2018, I think.
I fondly remember that (around that time) he came to visit ME twice and crashed on MY couch. No wine, though, just beer.

I do not miss Paris. I miss Paris with Jim. To me, Jim was the main attraction over there.
Now he’s gone and I feel empty, but it’s like in that famous movie (you know the one): „We’ll always have Paris!“

Annex 1:
By the way: All the books Jim brought me can be found on our beloved DCM, under my nom de guerre‚ 'tilliban‘. I can’t find the exact number of books I scanned and uploaded, it’s gotta be around 500. Our contribution to posterity. Cheers, Jim!

Annex 2:
‚tilliban‘ is in reality Tillmann Courth, a German journalist living in Cologne – writing and talking about comics. https://tillmanncourth.de/
He’ll go for a beer anytime.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2023, 08:06:22 PM by Yoc »
Pre-code horror aficionado and propagator of ACE comic books.
I run a number of websites about pre-code horror. Please follow the links.

Offline bminor

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Re: RIP - Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. Remembrances
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2023, 09:56:42 AM »
I was lucky enough to correspond with Jim over the past few years. He knowledge and insight will be missed by myself and many, many others...

Offline Yoc

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Re: RIP - Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. Remembrances
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2023, 08:14:38 PM »
Thanks very, very much for your posts guys!  Doc V and Tilliban got to know Jim very well among our circle.  I'm sure he had the same feelings about yourselves.  Both of you working diligently and as passionately at Jim's goal to accurately preserve and share comic history.

-Yoc

Offline lrek

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Re: RIP - Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. Remembrances
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2023, 02:56:10 AM »
He has become part of the history he worked to preserve.