Sad news from Allan Holtz regarding the passing of Cole Johnson, a comic scholar with a vast expertise in newspaper comic strip history.
One of the most endearing things about Cole was that he realized, and reveled in, the idea that being a newspaper comics expert is mystifying pointless and utterly ridiculous to 99.9% of humanity. He never took himself seriously, a trap many experts fall into. Even as Cole and I would spend an hour discussing something esoteric like the origins of World Color Printing, we were always at the same time laughing at ourselves, and how bizarre we would sound to an outsider.
Cole was also one of the most open-hearted, giving people I’ve ever met. His incredible collections were freely open to anyone who had an interest. As far as I know, he never once asked anyone for a fee, even when supplying material for publications that were expected to turn a profit. His delight was in the possibility that the material he collected, and shared freely, might attract new people to be interested in these things. You reading this blog are constant beneficiaries of his philosophy, as I have reproduced hundreds, maybe thousands of scans he produced to be shared here, not to mention all the knowledge that accompanied them.
My condolences to his family and friends.