Hey fandom,

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Photo courtesy of Linda Conrad

It is with a heavy heart that I pass along the news of our dear friend Joe Astalfa’s death. He lost his battle with cancer this morning.

Joe has been a great friend for many years, and of course our common bond was the monster himself, Godzilla. He contacted me concerning a few rare vinyls I had up for sale back in 2012 (Joe had impeccable taste), and through the ordeal we hit it off immediately. His unique wit and charm always bled through into any conversation – even if it were only through messaging online or texts. Joe never lost that trademark wit, and even made light of his overbearing situation last year in Chicago when we all met for G-Fest. His best friend, Mike Ross, put together an enormous card for us all to sign for Joe. That time together was wonderful, but I can’t help but be overcome with sadness as I sit here typing with only a little over a month to go before this year’s G-Fest… and Joe will not be joining us. Breaks my heart.

Many friends and fans are left behind to remember Joe and the positive influence he had on each and every one of us. He was an extremely knowledgeable fan and could talk classic kaiju eiga posters, vinyls, actors, and history with the best of them. Of course, our strongest bond personally was via collecting – and Joe ended up with two of my favorite vinyls: SDCC Exclusive Marmit Vinyl Paradise Purple Gabara and the Festival Excl. green and blue neon Marmit Monster Heaven Godzilla 1955… I had a habit of knocking prices waaaay down for Joe. Not because he couldn’t afford it – that was never the problem. But because I knew that some of my favorites were going to the right guy. Someone who would appreciate their whimsy as much as I did.

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The last photo of his collection that Joe sent to me. You can see the SDCC Gabara I mentioned, and really get a sense of just how unique and colorful of a guy Joe was.

If you know any of his friends or family on Facebook, please take the time to send them some kind words.To put it lightly, Joe will be missed.

Thank you for all of the multiple hour debates, Joe. Thanks for the figures we traded, sold back-and-forth and the memories attached to them. Thanks for schooling me in craft beers. Thank you for staying up late and brainstorming new branches of Skreeonk.com, and for coming up with great ideas for ways to help improve the fandom and Kaiju Fan Network. The site owes a lot to Joe, as do I. And we will never forget him for it.

Whether you knew him by Joe, Joseph, Cimmerian Dragon, or the nickname I was lucky enough to bestow on him myself: C-Dra, Joe was a good man. May he rest in peace. Here’s to one last cheers, Joe.

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Jon @ UnCanny

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1 Comment »

  1. I’m a few weeks late to the news….this is just devastating.

    I remember a few years back on the Toho Kingdom forums, a group of us were discussing the significance of online friends vs real-life friends, and whether or not online friends (or real-life acquaintances, for that matter) could ever have the same merit as “real” friends. Then Joe (or Cimmerian Dragon as we knew him) shared an anecdote about a clerk he knew at a local video store that he frequented once a week or so. The two would shoot the shit about movies and media and their mutual passions, but the relationship never went beyond that, they never became “friends” per say. But, he said that if he were to ever learn of that clerk’s death, he would be incredibly saddened and crestfallen regardless. Their connection was still a powerful one.

    His comment stuck with me, especially after he was diagnosed. Indeed, powerful connections can be formed through shared interests, and he made a point of mentioning that the internet is no exception. I now know this for a fact, I can’t stop crying.

    He and I shared an intense love for Godzilla (of course), and Akira Kurosawa, the latter whom he introduced me to, for which I am forever grateful (Kurosawa is my favorite filmmaker). He had an impeccable taste in, well, everything.

    He was easily one of the most intelligent, educated, and well-read people in the fandom, and would often astound me at how articulate he was. And he was never a dick. Ever.

    I can only imagine how those who knew him on a personal level must feel. My condolences to everyone affected.

    RIP, C-Dra.

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