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Somewhat More Esoteric Offerings from The Iron Gate (Second in a Series)

Following up on our previous entry in this space devoted to the New York hotspot “21” and its tribute book, The Iron Gate (see that first installment here), please enjoy these six additional images …

Cartoonist Dave Breger helped popularize the term “G.I.” during World War II with his G.I. JOE and PRIVATE BREGER comic strips. After the War, PRIVATE BREGER went civilian and his strip continued as MISTER BREGER.

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Found Inside The Iron Gate (First in a Series)

The Air Force Association (AFA) was founded in 1945 when the head of the Army Air Forces, General Hap Arnold, campaigned for the creation of a veterans group that would support establishing the Air Force as a separate branch of the military. Chapters of the AFA blossomed in major cities coast to coast, and when its initial mission was successfully accomplished the organization shifted its emphasis to fundraising for charitable causes (often targeting the Air Force Aid Society, the official charity of the U.S.A.F.) or educational pursuits in the areas of aviation.

By the early 1960s a New York branch of the Association opened called The Iron Gate Squadron. Aside from, sounding strong and distinctive, that name had specific significance: it referred to the imposing entrance of the high-toned Manhattan restaurant sometimes referred to as “Jack & Charlie’s 21,” or simply as “21.”

The array of iron lawn jockey statues adorning the front of “21” reflect a tradition extending back to the 1930s, and to the racing world that was long connected to the restaurant.

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Dale Crain, R.I.P.

We received the sad news that my good friend Dale Crain has died. We were the same age and had known each other since the ‘80s, when I ran Eclipse and he worked at Fantagraphics. Dale was a great comics historian and hands-down the best archival comics restorer I know. In LOAC’s early days, when I needed help restoring the earliest Little Orphan Annie strips, it was Dale I turned to. He had been living in Asia for a long time, at times running a restoration studio, then being “semi-retired” as he moved from Hong Kong to Thailand, and eventually Vietnam, where he’s been for the past few months. Shortly after he arrived, he sent me a little video showing his neighborhood, right on the beach. He absolutely loved living in Asia. We emailed each other regularly, — sometimes five times a week! — talking comics, the ins and outs of restoration, and life in general. He also liked keeping his hand in comics, so did restoration of LOAC Essentials strips, such as Baron Bean, Barney Google, and Charlie Chan, among others. What a blast we had, two grown-up kids who could still get excited about a well-drawn comics panel! Like everyone else who ever knew him, I will really miss his friendship. His family has a GoFundMe campaign to bring Dale’s body back from Vietnam. You can donate here. Thanks to Rich at Bleeding Cool for the photo.

For Those Who Came in Late …

Knowing that persons everywhere are looking for new diversions during the current global circumstances, it occurred to us that we may be getting casual browsers stopping by this space for only the first or second time. They may find themselves wondering, “What’s this whole Library of American Comics thing about, anyway?”

This entry is a very compressed primer on things a newcomer might want to know about our books, and the source material for them …

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A Rare Gift of New (To Me) Artwork

Greetings to all our visitors — I’ve been quiet in recent weeks because my wife has been under the weather and I’ve been running the household by myself (she’s much better now, thanks!). It was a challenge, even before the current circumstances fully took hold. We trust all our readers are acting responsibly and staying healthy. My wife had a far more pedestrian illness than the pandemic threat, but it was a fresh reminder that a sickbed is never a pleasant destination.

Shortly before my wife’s health took a downward turn, I became the custodian of a generous gift to LOAC. Here’s a look at it, and the backstory around it …

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