Good Cartoonists Gone


Friday, February 25, 2011

I really liked that little part in Sammy Harkham’s Crickets #3 where he lists the names of cartoonists that have “disappeared” from public view. His list is David Hornung, Colin Warneford, Jayr Pulga, Graham Chaffe, and Marc Trujillo. Any of those ring a bell, True Believer? No? Well, that’s okay. I only knew the first guy. Anyways, it got me thinking about some cartoonists who I admire and who sorta fell off the radar. My radar anyways – and I like to think that I have a wide signal. I wanted to rush to the Internet and track them all down but I thought I wouldn’t look them up and just put my list down. You might not know any of these names but that’s okay. Just having fun.

My list is as follows:

1. Guang Yap – Dragonring, New Mutants

2. The guy who drew a comic from the mid-’90s called Colville. I think that was the title. I sold my copy at a show and I regret it. It was a self contained story. Had a guard tower on the cover. Weird comic.

3. Joel Orff – one of the John Porcellino generation of mail order mini comics guys who makes appearances every few years. Hope he’s making comics. Strum und Drang was one of my favorite zines.

4. The “anonymous” guy who drew the DOG BOOK – better known as the Utility Sketchbook.

5. Alex Nino – ’70s sci-fi guy. Kinda Moebius. Does he still do comics?

Disclaimer: This is not a Five For Friday ripoff. More like an homage. Apologies to T.S.

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121 Responses to “Good Cartoonists Gone”
  1. itsthatlady says:

    This is what Alex Nino was doing in the ’90s – the link is to Hans Bacher’s site where he posts some (stunning) Alex Nino animation art.

  2. Rob Clough says:

    My list includes Brian Biggs, Lisa Maslowe (who I thought was developing into something special), Adam Berenstain and Amanda Padilla.

  3. Robert Boyd says:

    I would have included Jayr Pulga on my list, too. A great cartoonist who only did a few things, all of which were great. I first saw his work in Bad News #2. I would have included Joel Orff as well.

    So, in addition to Jayr Pulga…
    1) Michael Dougan
    2) Carel Moisievitch
    3) mark Zingarelli
    4) Brad Johnson (I’d also like to hear some new Virginia Dare in addition to seeing some new comics)
    5) Lindsey Arnold

    And really many more, alas.

  4. Nino did that Dead Ahead series pretty recently, right? I picked up a Dog the Dyslexic God trade for 5 bucks a few weeks ago, and he has some nice pages in that one too.

  5. ramon says:

    yeah, alex is still doing work these days. there were actually 2 dog the dyslexic god minis, and i think he’s working with the same writers on another project now.

  6. Jeet Heer says:

    Jeremy Eaton shows up here and there doing illustrations (often highlighted on the Fantagraphics blog) but it’s a shame he’s not cartooning more. Terry Laban has a comic strip but that format severely limits him, I think. I’d love to see him doing comic books or graphic novels.

    • Robert Boyd says:

      I think he is back starting up Mukluk Wolfsbreath after (or in the service of?) getting a masters in anthropology (at least I assume its anthropology).

      • Rob Clough says:

        Laban’s strip (which he did with his wife, I believe), was perfectly readable but mostly unremarkable. His old Tales of Unsupervised Existence was one of my favorite slice-of-life comics ever. I liked his old Mutkuk comics, so I’ll be curious to see what comes of this project.

        • Tom Spurgeon says:

          For what it’s worth, I think Edge City is still running. Terry Laban can draw anything he wants to, he has that kind facility.

          • Ian Harker says:

            Terry LaBan is alive and well. He just started attending Philly Comix Jam meetings actually. Word on the street is that he’s launching a web comic in the near future. Terry has the P4P best jam comics stories on the planet about his Chicago days. I could listen to him talk all day.

  7. Uland says:

    Joel Orff:
    Go Minnesota!

  8. gabby schulz says:

    Does anyone remember Probosco? A mini-comic from the mid-90s?

  9. Anyone remember the Colville comic I mention above? I think it was self published in like ’97? From Ontario I believe? Kinda noirish.

  10. patrick ford says:

    I really like Mark Zingarelli.
    What ever happened to that guy?
    Did the second part of the story about the weird guy obsessed with Cadillacs ever see print?

  11. zack soto says:

    Well, on that same Guang Yap tip, THIS GUY: started WARLOCK 5 and did the second ALIENS mini, which were both completely beautiful.
    I had no idea he also did this DH Frankenstein book, which is all up here:

  12. DerikB says:

    Richard Hahn. His Steinberg homage in Windy Corner 1 is one of my favorite comics. And Lunakick 2 (never saw one). His blog seems to have gone quite, but check out these comics:

  13. Rob Clough says:

    Richard Hahn has a strip in the new Studygroup 12. It’s typically great.

  14. Rob Clough says:

    By the way, Colin Warneford was the cartoonist who did that Transatlantic Comics issue of American Splendor. He’s the fellow with fairly crippling Asperger’s Syndrome who wrote to Pekar, and they then collaborated on that comic. Don’t know if he’s done anything since. A google search revealed nothing.

  15. Nate says:

    Jeff Purves had a promising stretch on “The Hulk” back in the early ’90s. He’s not doing comics anymore, which is a real shame.

    • jimrugg says:

      Purvis was drawing the grey hulk when I started reading comics in the late 80s. The hulk was a Vegas gangsta and Purvis drew him great – very stocky and wide in a suit. Ridiculous.

  16. Jason Ramos says:

    The guy that did that alternate pirate world comic called “Colonia” in the earlier 2000’s…was it Jeff something?

    I was wondering about Jason Sandberg – google search indicates he seems to be concentrating on painting these days, but Jupiter was a great weird comic.

    • Rob Clough says:

      Jeff Nicholson. He was a big presence in the B&W boom in the 80s with Ultra-Klutz, then had one of the great 90s comics with Through The Habitrails and then lost his way with Father and Son. Colonia was his all-ages series. He officially quit a few years ago; he made an announcement on his web site and everything. It’s a shame, because it was quite a clever series.

      • zack soto says:

        I really like most of Nicholson’s comics, but Father & Son is one of the worst “funny comics” I’ve ever read.

        • Alixopulos says:

          I thought F&S was hilarilous. I know everyone hated it, I’m krazy!

          • zack soto says:

            Well, it was pretty out there.. You could almost hear the mis-cued laff track. If it was supposed to be anti-humor then I could enjoy it on that level, but I guess I couldn’t quite see it that way.

          • Steve Block says:

            Colonia was an amazing comic, I enjoyed Jeff’s stuff immensely, apart from Father and Son which really didn’t work. I always wondered what happened to him, he was a rare talent, his Tirade is probably one of the best pieces of work from that era and deserves more recognition. I was always trying to save enough money to buy the Ultra Klutz collections and never could make it. Jeff, if you’re out there, I have the money!

  17. This is sort of off topic – but related. Thinking about Guang Yap got me thinking about Aircel comics. When Barry Blair died last year, I thought there would be some obit that would explain Aircel Comics and Blair’s career in detail. And then no real substantial obit appeared. Maybe I just missed it. All I know was that Blair died of a brain aneurysm. So I emailed my Canadian friends and asked around. No one really knew anything. It kinda seemed like no one wanted to talk about Blair. No one was saying they weren’t talking. But really, no one was talking.

    Meanwhile, I found practically all the Aircel comics ever published. They were all stashed in the ten for a dollar box at a warehouse in Pittsburgh, PA. I bought like over a hundred comics. All Aircel. The sheer volume of titles published by this small Canadian organization was astonishing. Most of it is crap but there were some real gems in the stash too. Guang Yap was really good. He started out at Aircel and went on to draw at Marvel. Love me some Dragonring. There were so many titles – so much to look at. And cheap! I doubt any of it is future Art Out of Time material but it is interesting. Even if only for historical reasons. And airbrush coloring.

    So, anyways, anyone know why no one was talking after Blair died? Too many skeletons?

    • vollsticks says:

      There was some fairly “juicy” stuff about Blair in Dave Cooper’s big Comics Journal interview, wasn’t there?!? Dan & Larry is apparently a thinly-disguised autobiographical account of their relationship but I personally wouldn’t take that as gospel or anything, obviously…if you read the interview with Cooper again it’s kind of what he DOESN’T say which speaks loudest, if you know what I mean…the whole thing seems a bit shady to me but I wouldn’t presume to know anything about the guy…just throwing out what I’ve read….which doesn’t amount to a lot, I know! Intimations of paedophilia will follow anyone to the grave…I think I just turned the hallowed ComicsComics comments section into a News Of The World editorial! Sorry! No, REALLY…I’m SORRY!

    • inkstuds says:

      Dude, just go to Blair’s website and you will see why no one talks about him for some very good reasons.

      • zack soto says:

        Robin, every time Blair is brought up, you say much the same thing. GET A NEW LINE.
        I think Aircel is actually sort of a mildly important name in the early indy publishing history, and would like more discussion, not less. We all get that Blair’s comics make you/us feel icky when we look at them, but I’d say that’s more reason to talk about his work.

    • Tom Spurgeon says:

      Frank, I just screwed up and didn’t get the obit written — I had enough material to do so; although it wasn’t like people were dying to talk to me, some did. I just screwed up. My plan is to get all old work out in some form by the summer. I more recently screwed up on the Don Donahue and Jerry Wiest obits. There’s no excuse, I just get caught up on work sometime. I have a bibliography about fugitive slave stories that I’ve been working on since 1991 and have one project I’ve been working on since the 8th grade.

    • Brad Mackay says:

      Reading that Sequential obit reminded me of one of the great things about Aircel; that it started out as an insulation company. Beyond the obvious jokes that could be made about the Canadian angle of this, it makes me think about all those stories of editors using old comics pages as insulation in their barns or sheds. “I’ll show those guys! I’ll turn an insulation company into a comics company!”

  18. Jeet Heer says:

    A Barry Blair obit (with clues for the silence):

  19. Chris Arrant says:

    I remember COLVILLE. I tracked it down after Spurgeon reviewed it. Steve Gilbert.

    For Nino, Image announced a mini with him drawing called DEAD AHEAD that never materialized.

  20. Tom Spurgeon says:

    I really like those Michael Dougan books, and I’m a fiend for that dog stuff, of course.

    I’d love to see another comic by Richard P. Butler, who did the famous passed-around comic “Albuquerque Ben.”

    There were also some passed around comics by someone named Jason Martin that were completely hysterical. “I’m Gonna Pop Your Cheddar Legs.” I would have enjoyed more of those.

    I thought Jess Johnson (then Jeff Johnson) made two or three comics in the mid-1990s that were as good as any out there — the finger-biting story in an issue of Buzzard, the “No Erect Penises” comic in the same Zero Zero issue with “I Was Killing When Killing Wasn’t Cool” (good issue!) and that completely scary, gonzo comic with the Beagle Boys in Dirty Stories #1.

    Mark Tonra and Wes Hargis both worked on syndicated comic strips that were more than good enough to get over but didn’t.

    • Uland says:

      I’d really love to see some scans of Albequerque Ben. I recall an appreciation of it printed in an issue of TCJ in the late nineties (?). I was really obsessed with that review for a while. I’d laugh at a single panel they printed along side it.
      Was the article written by Greg Cook? I think a cartoonist wrote it, anyhow.

      So yes, please, if anyone has a copy, please scan and post.
      I’d love to see a blog of scans from old minis.

      • Tom Spurgeon says:

        Greg Stump wrote that piece; he was working at the Journal at a time. It was a really interesting comic, enough so that the stunt-aspect of writing about a comic no one could buy didn’t bother anyone. I think Clowes has a copy and certainly Greg probably does; I’ve moved too many times so that putting my hands on my own copy would be an accident at this point.

        • Greg Stump says:

          I’ve still got a copy of Richard Butler’s Albuquerque Ben and I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who remembers this truly strange comic with fondness. Though I’d love to share it with the world, the ethics of posting it on-line aren’t clear to me … is it fair to post an excerpt of a comic that was never published?

    • zack soto says:

      Someone told me dougan had a fire in his studio in recent years and lost practically a whole career worth of art. Does anyone know if that’s true? Terrifying, really.

    • vollsticks says:

      Jessica Johnson actually replied in the affirmative to a comment I made on her flickr page asking if she still makes comics. She did that great story where Popeye meets the transsexual prostitute. Had her own series with Fantagraphics at one point as well, didn’t she?

  21. Tom Spurgeon says:

    Was it Orff who did those ‘zine that were just like a dude visiting a town and writing about it and drawing things from it? I liked those.

  22. Tom Spurgeon says:

    Also, in a different world with a different comics publishing infrastructure, I suspect Heather Havrilesky and Terry Colon might have done more comics after Filler died with in the early 2000s.

  23. patrick ford says:

    Did the obvious and searched Mark Zingarelli.
    Turns out he lives in Pittsburgh.

  24. patrick ford says:

    From Mark’s web page.
    About the sweetest thing I’ve ever read.

  25. Robert McCue says:

    I have a list but as we speak i’ve tracked down a bunch. So it’s kind of pointless…

    have a weird long story pertaining someone on my ‘dropped off the radar list’ not an artist exactly but an old friend who actually pushed me to have a go at making my own books.

    The one name on my list that I seriously have trouble finding is Steve Stern, co-creator of Zen intergalactic ninja. Hated the comic but Steve was an awesome guy and really got me into the idea of being a cartoonist. He used to “appear” at the LCS in my area and,well most people had no idea who he was. They knew the Zen character from the posters the shops put up. I would end up talking to the guy for quite a while during that time. I’d sit and draw up things and he’d seriously go over it with a critical eye. I was 13-14 and this was over many many months. Through him I met quite a few people. The last time I saw him I was working at a convention in the Nassua Coliseum on Long Island. His table was a few tables from the booth I was in so I took a break and hung out. It was a big weird situation, he was cool but he kept flagging down Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palimotti (during the time of Event comics) asking if they’d do a cover for a Zen book and at one point showing them my sketches. They all were cool but like everything it had to end.

    After that I met Todd McFarlane and it soured me on comics for about 6 years. Seperate story I’ll spare you. He was a dick.

    Last I saw of Steve was on the Daily Show of all places. It was a goof story about people who bought real estate on mars and one of the “kooks” they talked to was Steve. It still baffles me to this day. Then I saw he had a reboot of that Zen comic a few years back. I’ve been wondering how he’s been doing and trying to get back in touch. He was one of the good non scum people I met in my years trying to make a go of this bizarre artform.

    Sorry for the name dropping.

  26. Robert Boyd says:

    I think there are two categories of cartoonist we are talking about here. 1) cartoonists who have apparently stopped drawing comics, but seem to be doing other (probably more remunerative) things and 2) cartoonists who have seemingly vanished from the Earth. The internet and Google has made it a little harder to be the latter type. The former type, though, is quite common. These are cartoonists who were often really good who couldn’t justify being cartoonists any longer–whether this was for financial reasons or just a feeling of being unappreciated or simply unread or simple burnout or something else.

    So they frequently become illustrators–not an easy gig but easier than comics. Or they completely change professions. Scott Gilbert went back to grad school, got his MLS degree, and works as a digital information librarian.

    I find myself wishing comics had what the fine arts world or the literary world has–a string of professional positions in colleges and universities. There are lots and lots of problems with the whole MFA/academic complex, but at least many visual artists and poets get decent paying jobs with benefits that allow them time to work on their art (including even sabbaticals–a concept alien to most jobs). Comics doesn’t have this kind of safety net…

    • ‘member in ye olden days when you couldn’t look your long lost favorite cartoonist up on der komputer? I would always just call Bill Boichel. Guys that knew everything about comics before the world wide internet web are fun to talk to. Bill has great stories about drinking with “The Studio” guys at cons. Apparently Kaluta useta really knock ’em back.

    • patrick ford says:

      I find myself wishing that all cartoonists were Canadian.
      It isn’t anything in the water there, it just doesn’t happen to be a fifth world hell hole.

  27. Joe Williams says:

    Whatever happened to Al Columbia? Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    I loved Jayr Pulga’s comics in Snake Eyes. Glad to see those stuck out to a few others as well.

    • Jayr Pulga says:

      Thanks, Joe! Always amazes me those stories found an audience. Back to doing comics in the last 2 years. Still love the medium and hope to get more “personal” work out to the public. I did 5 pages for Hotwire 3, edited by Glenn Head, which came out in 2010. Not as “ethereal” as my earlier work, but then again, one changes with time. Best to you!

  28. Ian Harker says:

    Art Baxter is the most talented cartoonist I know. He never caught his big break though. He’s on the comeback trail though.

    Also, Doug Slack is on the comeback. Just went full time again!

  29. Danny Ceballos says:

    It’s still a crying shame that NOTHING substantial of George Carlson’s work has been collected (I’m guessing something must be in the works). I found a whole stack of the books he made for Wanamaker’s in the 20’s and the design work of the covers alone is stunning. And this is decades before Jingle Jangle. I saw the manuscript and some of the art he was working on for ALEC IN STUMBLELAND (?), I’m sure somebody must want to publish something like that…

    And what about Mark Beyer? God, the world really needs him making more comics… Mark, please come home…

  30. Dave Knott says:

    I’m somewhat surprised that Mark Marek has not been mentioned yet. He was one of my favourites from NatLamp, but just sort of disappeared when the magazine folded.

    I see that he maintains a website, and it looks like all his work is in animation now.

  31. Heidi M. says:

    M.K. Brown? Jennifer Daydreamer?

  32. colin blanchette says:

    There was a guy I was wondering about awhile back and maybe someone here has an idea. Andrew Zaben, who put out three books: Dream Big Dreams, Queens Blvd, and Tuesday and Thursday. All self-published (?), all crudely drawn, well-written (as I remember them, it’s been years). I bought all of them at the old Fantagraphics warehouse, probably used.

    I’ll also second Jeff Nicholson.

    And what the hell ever happened to Martin Wagner?

  33. Nate C says:

    Then there’s the wonderful Chris Reynolds of “Mauretania Comics” fame … he’s still doing stuff, and has a website, but his newer stuff is only for the Kindle, which sucks if you’re a luddite like me. Why hasn’t his stuff been collected? Why only one old interview online? Seth’s appreciation in TCJ #265 was great, but there should be more analysis!

    And I second what someone said about J. Bradley Johnson … more work!

    • He’s put out a few collections of his own stuff via Lulu:

      And yeah, Reynolds is great. I just found a new back issue of MAURETANIA COMICS last week and I want to savor it. He also made a surprise (to me) appearance in the Knockabout Rian Hughes collection YESTERDAY’S TOMORROWS, as writer of a vintage Hughes short… very impressive how much of his ‘feel’ comes through, even with another artist drawing.

      • Nate C says:

        Yeah … I got Cinema Detectives and Adventures from Mauretania, and I have The Dial and the book just called “Mauretania.” I also have a bunch of issues of the comic, but I need to complete the collection. I wish he’d put out the newer stuff he’d done in print, at least on Lulu or something. I’ll have to look for the one you mentioned, though!

  34. I would like to see new Mike Diana stuff. Maybe it’s around, but I haven’t heard about it.

    • Mike lives in New York City. He would make small paintings on board. He used to go out with my friend Kembra Pfahler aka The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black. He’s a nice, quiet guy.

      • Cool, dude. I’ll have to search out some of his paintings. I love his comics to the max, though.
        Whoa, I googled Kembra. She’s awesome. I’ll have to check all her stuff out too. Really amazing.

      • Rob Clough says:

        I still remember Mike giving a big presentation at SPX in 1997. He struck me as such a quiet, almost angelic guy, and he had been through such hell. His talk was actually part of his community service hours. This was back when SPX was still one day and it followed a chalk talk by Jeff Smith and preceded a James Kochalka show. The show was smaller and pretty much everyone hung out in one big room at the event the night before the show.

  35. Brad Mackay says:

    We forgot the biggest of them all, Rick Altergott! Of course, he’s taking some time off to enjoy his kid — but he needs to get back to comicing post-haste!

  36. I looked up David Greenberger. Me and Rege were talking about Duplex Planet when I was in LA. I still have a fondness for the Duplex Planet strips that Clowes did which would run in Eightball.

    • Briany Najar says:

      They’ve got the No More Shaves collection in my local library.
      It’s really something. Extended yarns with these bumpy spiralling rhythms.
      Shame about the typo on the spine, they missed the “b” out of his surname, right on the spine of the book! Annoying!
      Great book all the same.
      Huge recommendation.
      I think it’s got the robot one in there, too:
      “What do robots do?”
      “Go up in the air and explode up in the air.”
      The stories are more in depth, narrative-wise and also by way of getting to know the narrators.
      Sterling work all round.

  37. Jason Martin is still doing stuff. Mainly video and music related to wrestling women while dressed as a wolf. He showed up in this strange New Yorker piece on Carla Bruni –

    Jason Martin website:

    Some of the type of comics that Tom was talking about are on this page:

    I’d like to see some new work by Archer Prewitt.

    Also, Aaron Cometbus should draw more comics.

  38. alixopulos says:

    Just noticed: Peter B. Gillis, who wrote lots of comics in the 80s including a run of Dr. Strange that I ‘ve always been fond of, has a letter printed in the newest issue of Sy Safransky’s writing magazine THE SUN.

  39. I miss Pat Broderick’s work. I’m not sure when he departed comics. Or maybe he’s still doing work and it’s escaped me.

    • Rob Clough says:

      Pat Broderick’s work always looked weird to me as a kid, but I found myself fascinated by it. His line has this weird vibratory quality to it while still looking very much like a standard realistically-drawn superhero comic. His Captain Marvel comics were interesting-looking, with all those crazy cosmic characters, and the same went with Micronauts. He also drew a couple of issues of What If that were so fun to look at, like the one where Peter Parker stops the burglar.

      • vollsticks says:

        Did he draw a run of Captain Atom in the late eighties/early nineties?!? I loved his art, if it’s the guy I’m thinking of–definitely some weird qualities for a “mainstream” artist…

        • brynocki C says:

          yeah that was Broderick on Captain Atom. Major Force! He did a couple issues of Marvel Premiere when Iron Fist debuted. He did have a strange take on mainstream art. Maybe a sort of homoerotic vibe? Bart Sears kind of ran with his style.

          • vollsticks says:

            You know, you’re right, there! Bart Sears, that’s an artist I haven’t thought of in many a year…Pat Broderick’s characters all looked sort of dumpy, didn’t they?!? But he made it work…oh man I need to find some of those old Captain Atom’s….

  40. jimrugg says:

    Has Debbie Drechsler done any comics since Nowhere? I loved that comic.

  41. Rina Ayuyang says:

    I didn’t read all of the comments on here so It’s probably been said, but Alex Nino is a special guest at Comic Con. If you’re going, you can probably ask him what he’s doing there, Frank.

  42. Eric Reynolds says:

    Jeremy Eaton is one of my best friends and is still a ridiculously prolific artist, he just doesn’t publish many comics, focusing more on illustration, painting, and multi-media stuff (all of which still screams comics and cartooning). He has a blog here:

    Michael Dougan is still busy creatively but the last few years it’s mostly been in the form of writing for television. At least that was the case the last time I saw him a year or so ago.

    Pat Broderick actually did an Eros comic about two or so years ago called Sirianus.

    Oh, and Fantagraphics is publishing a massive George Carlson book around the end of this year…

  43. Steven Gilbert says:

    Wow, it’s nice to be remembered…I’m the guy who did the Colville comic. Glad you liked it Frank. I was an exhibitor at the SPX back in ’98 and sold a bunch of Colvilles there. I still draw comics when I can find the time, in fact, there is an entire second chapter of Colville completed (about 48 pages) plus about 25 pencilled and lettered pages for a third chapter. Someday it’ll get finished and I’ll get a table at TCAF or sumthin’. Since 1999 I’ve owned and managed my own comics shop here in Newmarket, Ontario called Fourth Dimension. That takes up most of my non-sleeping time. Unfortunately, the drawing board has been back-burnered. I’m probably better at selling other peoples’ comics than I am at making my own!

  44. Mark Beyer says:

    Hey if somebody wants to pay me $150.00 a week to do a new weekly strip online
    or in print I would seriously consider it….. Yeah I know that’s just such an outrageous
    amount of money.

    • Jayr Pulga says:

      Hey, Mark! It’s been many years since the Raw parties at Danceteria. Henrik Drescher was asking about you on facebook recently. Still doing comics? If I could, I’d give you $150 a day to do a strip, but $150 is an illusive number by me too. Stay with it, Mark! Hope life is good by you!

  45. Rob Clough says:

    Umm, I think it’s time to take up a collection for Mark Beyer, people! Someone start a Kickstarter for this, pronto!

  46. brynocki C says:

    Dan Nadel pays me $1.50 per weekly episode of Puke Force. It’s just a couple decimal points away.

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