I’ve known Alvin since 1994 or so. He was only a teenager at the time, but he stuck out because of his age and because he would routinely spend large sums of money on comics at the Fantagraphics tables at Comic-Con and APE. His tastes mirrored my own to a T. Just like he mentioned in a recent California Sunday Magazine feature about Dan Clowes, he would hang around to awkwardly chat with and get sketches and autographs from guys like Clowes, Altergott, Sala, etc. He was clearly a kindred spirit.
We’ve known each other for such a long time, but it was only over the past few years, collaborating on The Daniel Clowes Reader, The Complete Eightball, and most recently Patience that our longstanding acquaintanceship cemented into a deeper friendship. We bonded, first and foremost, over our favorite cartoonist, Dan Clowes, but over time, and over the course of so many phone calls, we bonded over a lot more, as well. We gossiped, we bitched, and we sung the praises of the things we mutually loved.
He wasn’t the easiest guy to get to know, but he proved to be a good friend and a true ally over time. We shared some truly great memories and experiences over the past couple of years that I’ll be ever grateful for. The news of his death on Thursday night was a much bigger blow than I could have imagined, not just personally but in the way it has left a singular void in the lives of several of our greatest cartoonists, for whom Alvin was a tireless advocate. That his death comes in the wake of the passing of our own Kim Thompson in 2013, and our friend Dylan Williams of Sparkplug Comics in 2011, only compounds the tragedy for those of us who value great cartooning, because the world is a genuinely less hospitable place for it without those guys. But first and foremost, we’ve lost another friend.