Alexander Rayko Alexiev was named for his father, the famous painter, caricaturist, and satirist Rayko Alexiev, who was tortured and killed by Bulgaria’s Soviet-backed communist regime in 1944. His mother was dispatched for many years to Bulgaria’s gulag from which she was fortunate to emerge alive. These events created the context for their son’s life and work, which was intense, focused, intellectually profound, spirited, and inspirational. Unsurprisingly, Alex harbored a deep-seated hatred of communism and those who claimed to follow it, or who advanced preposterous claims on its behalf. He was raised largely by his grandparents and other relatives, for whom he had the deepest love and respect. His grandfather, in particular, figured in many of Alex’s recollections of his childhood, which were invariably full of dark humor.