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.

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