I learned on Twitter this afternoon that Alvin Buenaventura has died. Absolutely dreadful news. I've featured his books on this website a handful of times and think that his vision for comics and publishing was one of the most passionate out there. My relationship with him exists solely on a consumer/comics-fan level -- if he recognized my name it was from nothing more than a mail order -- so I can't say much of anything on a personal level but I really think he did something special for the industry. He clearly had long-lasting relationships with a number of cartoonists, and I love how he'd get behind some incredible sketchbook projects, little editioned artist's books, and prints. The vibe I consistently got from him was one of support and steadfast belief in his artists' projects. I feel like he ran his business while holding on to the feeling of what it's like to be a fan, to love these artists' works, and that's something I wish more publishers would do.
Here's a stunning staple-bound book by Charles Burns called Incubation that Buenaventura put out on his Pigeon Press imprint. This retails for a modest $9.95 and is absolutely essential for any Charles Burns fan. It's amazing to see Burns' process, from thick, ink-pen drawings to scribbly, sketchy figures.
It's so sad to hear of Alvin's passing, and I hate to think no one's going to make these kinds of special books anymore.