Friday, October 29, 2010

Passing of a good friend!

10/27/10 : 3 a.m.

I found out tonight that my friend and co-publisher of the Apex Novelties serigraph series passed away this week. Don Donahue, the first publisher of Robert Crumb's ZAP Comix, and the founder of Apex Novelties, the oldest publisher of underground comix, passed from prostate cancer in Oakland California. Don was and will always be remembered as a brilliant, humorous, hard working heart of the underground comix movement! Without him and Robert Crumb, there may not have been a cultural revolution of the late 1960's!
I've told this story before...I'll tell it again ... I first ran across Don's work when I was too young to legally buy his wonderful publications...It was an issue of R. Crumb's Mr. Natural. I tried to buy the thing from a head shop where I grew up. The clerk wouldn't sell it to me, so I convinced my mother to buy it for me, which she did. It wasn't until later she looked at it and totally freaked out! I don't blame many comics showed Big Baby blowing Mr. Natural? not many! ...I was hooked from that day on...little did I know that I would work side by side with Don in the early nineties publishing and printing a series of extraordinary serigraphs! (check out an older posting) ... and that those serigraphs would be APEX Novelties LAST imprint. Before all that, Don was very supportive of my work. I started publishing a little black and white mag entitled (kär-tön') new comic arts journal...he really enjoyed it and encouraged me in many ways. When I published the 3rd issue he was instrumental in helping with a tribute issue dedicated to Dori Seda, to the point of offering me Dori's old loft space in the Scooby's Toys warehouse. The warehouse was like going to college for me... for a young aspiring cartoonist it was heaven. Don was always a pleasure to be around. He wrote a brilliant forward and helped quite a bit with the making of my next project HECK! Comic art of the late 1980's, as well as RIP OFF Comix issue #26, that I guest edited. We used to sit around the large table in the communal dining room and talk and bullshit... that is where we started a conversation about the french printmakers... after a few drinks and a joint or two we decided we should give it a try. We took over a large room in the ground level of the warehouse and set everything up. Don called Crumb up and we decided on the HUP #3 cover image as our first serigraph. Don was a master at the off-set, but not really experienced with silk-screening, I had some, but the two of us combined did a great job! It was mostly fun, a lot of hard work and once in awhile a flare up, but we got through 6 in the series. I'm sorry I didn't stay in touch as I should have him and with a lot of people. The last time I spoke to him I was living in NY and he had just finished his self published book... Bridled Enthusiasm a collection of illustrations and song lyrics... one of which was entitled ...

"When Your Life Gets So Pathetic and Dumb"
When your life gets so pathetic and dumb
That the thought of it makes you puke,
Be like Jiminy Cricket and strum
a little tune on your uke.

It costs no more to be a bore
Than it did in nineteen thirty-four.
So pick yourself up, and hose yourself down
And strum a tune on your uke.

I'll dearly miss you Don. I can't thank you enough for all you did for me, and all you taught me.
Love and Peace my friend!

emails sent:

you must know this by now that Don passed away early morning at 3:oo am.

my energy is in slow motion at the moment and i just want to convey to you

that he was in the best of hands because i know he was so important a soul

in your hearts. talk to you soon, be well.

-Natasha Shawver

A decision amongst Don's friends was made to take away the feeding tube.

Almost immediately he stopped trying his despirate attempts to move his

arms from the restraints. He had been trying to rip these things out and now

was at peace to complete his journey. His final day was serene, a panorama of

the bay area he loved so well filled his full bay window and he had

visitors from all stations of his life to wish him well. At 3 am this morning, Don

transitioned. Please send us any comments you would like to make for

others to hear at his life celebration ( the location and time yet to be

determined) Don had no family except for you. best,

-Ron Turner

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