Saturday, April 3, 2010

R.I.P. Jamie Alder, a.k.a. Bill Shut, 1951-2010

I just learned that Jamie Alder, whose abstract comics were published in the anthology under his pseudonym "Bill Shut," died of a heart attack in his sleep two weeks ago. I never met him in person, but we corresponded at length via email and a few times talked on the phone about his contribution to the anthology, not to mention later about his originals that were included in the "Silent Pictures" show. Jamie was also a member of this blog, though I don't think he ever posted anything. For the anthology, I edited slightly his bio. Here it is exactly as he sent it to me:
I was born in 1951 and I'm not dead yet.
I was influenced by the stuff underground artists Rick Griffin, art spiegelman, Victor Moscoso, and the collage novel of Max Ernst were doing. I also really liked Rory Hayes and Mark Beyer. Clay Geerdes and his newsletter Comix World/Wave was the inspiration to self publish. I will also have some pages in Newave! the Underground Mini-Comix of the 1980s Ed. by Mike Dowers and published by Fantagraphics and last I heard coming out at the end of the 2009
I should write something more eloquent about Jamie's pioneering efforts (his abstract comics that we published dated from the early '70s), about the importance of his contribution to underground and newave comix, and so on, but frankly I'm too stunned right now to be able to say much... Rest in peace, Jamie.

More information on Jamie's facebook page. See more of his art on his Poopsheet Foundation page. You can also see more of his work in Fantagraphics' new Newave anthology.


  1. I am lucky enough to have know Jamie from homeschooling associations. When i learned that he was an underground comic i always called him Bill Shuts, all the homeschooling parents wondered what the little joke was. At one point he gave me a small collection of his work. I will cherish them always.

  2. Thank you for your reminiscences, Michele. I would love to hear from others with memories of him.

  3. This is terrible. So young. I'm glad Andrei published him and he saw the book before his death.

  4. I knew Jamie 30 years ago as a horse trainer near Ann Arbor. I was lucky enough to have him and his then wife, Penny, as my trainers. I knew when he left Ann Arbor he was designing jumping courses, but then lost track of him. I barely remember him talking about his art at that time - too much horsey stuff. His whole family was pretty amazing. What a loss - such a gentle soul with some awesome talent - in many areas.


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