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Fred Hembeck on Jeff Kapalka
posted April 14, 2012

I was very sad to learn that Jeff Kapalka has passed away, apparently several months back. Jeff reviewed comics and such for the Syracuse Herald-Journal--including my Omnibus collection shortly after it came out in 2008--but I'd known Jeff far longer than that. We first struck up an ongoing correspondence not long after my Dateline:@#$! strip began running in The Buyer's Guide back in the late seventies. It turned out we had very simpatico tastes, and it was always a delight to find a new letter in my mailbox with Jeff's return address on it (once, he even sent along a comic for me to read, knowing that with a title like "Lars From Mars", I HAD to experience it for myself!).

Lynn and I met Jeff on several occasions while attending various upstate New York comic conventions, and I found him to be an absolute pleasure to spend time with. Fact is, he seemed like the sort of fellow that, had he lived reasonably nearby, I'd've been great friends with.

We lost touch for more years than I'd care to count, but then, with the advent of social media, we were once again able to reunite, if only via the computer. Looking now over at his Facebook page, I see we likely last communicated on his birthday, this past March. After I sent along my best wishes for the day, Jeff then very generously took the time to translate from French into English a piece that was linked to over on MY wall that he could tell I was clearly baffled by. Above and beyond, y'know?

Maybe I didn't know him all that well, considering, but I think I knew Jeff Kapalka well enough to know he was an awful nice guy. The fact that I won't be able to wish him a happy birthday again this upcoming March is tremendously depressing.