Sunday, December 09, 2007

The outpouring of emotion over the passing of Al Scaduto was quite moving. The post breaking the news to the Comics Curmudgeon community has well over 200 commenters sharing their grief (and lest you think it's just people being polite in the face of mortality, the other posts this year about the various cartoon artists passing generaed nothing even approaching this; in fact, I'd say the comments on B.C.'s Johnny Hart ran pretty heavily to the negative). I spent most of yesterday pouring over the comments (until last night's poker tournament, when it was all business), and was a bit surprised how touched I was. But I was moved to see that my experience was hardly unique; I'd never heard of the strip before Josh started including it in his daily snark. I laughed at it, but also marvelled that such an anachronistic strip still exists. Gradually, I came to appreaciate its stylish art and playful language, and also cheered on with the rest of the Comics Curmudgeon community when a CC reader got an idea in the strip. I always intended to send in an idea, but due to it's unstuck-in-time nature, I guess I felt like I had forever to come up with a petty grievence to submit; now, sadly, I see that was far from true.

One thing that was particularly interesting in the comments was that, thanks be to Google, family and friends of Al Scaduto made it to the site, to share their impressions of the by-all-accounts kind and generous man. While their grief no doubt transcends the reaction of internet hipsters, it was interesting to hear his daughter's thoughts about the internet community that latched on to his strip, giving it, to borrow from another, less good-natured site, "a bizarre, ironic cult following:"

My sister Patricia and I (Debbie) have been reading your beautiful words about my father Al Scaduto this morning. When my father was in the hospital this week, I spent some time–the first time really–looking him up on the Internet. I found a site (not this one) that seemed to love him. And when he got out of the hospital, I had planned to show it to him. But then I ran across this site and saw what was being said about him and thought I better not ever let my father know what was going on on the Internet (I am sure it will come as no suprise to anyone here that my father was NOT comfortable in the computer age and wouldn’t have known how to cruise the Internet on his own). But I have changed my mind today. I would give anything for my father to see what you have written about him today. My father was the kindest, most generous, fun-loving person I knew and you all here have honored his memory with your generosity and kindness. So many of you got it right: more than being a great cartoonist, my father was a kind man. My family thanks you. Reading your words gives us great comfort. YOU all are a class act.

Please give the comments a read if you have time, and remember a good man who had a good run and will be missed by all. There's an "American Pie" parody for you in there somewhere, and some fan art, like this (and ain't it the truth; Google News turns up one news story about his passing, and it's in Italian).

Mike Lynch has updated his post with photos and memories of the man. Scaduto's funeral home has a guest book where you can pay your respects (and which notes that he lived in Milford, CT, setting of Gil Thorp--I expect a tribute strip, guy who draws Gil Thorp!).

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