§ March 7th, 2013 § Filed under obituary § 20 Comments

So Errol had been coming to the shop for years, popping in about once a month to pick up his holds, and calling me the next day with his Previews order. He had a health condition that slowly robbed him of his motor skills…early on he could still walk into the shop with the use of a cane, but in later years he was mostly wheelchair-bound: he was able to stand for brief periods of time, but certainly not walk.

However, he was always cheerful and friendly, and we’d chat for quite a while during his visits, and he wasn’t shy about what he thought was good or bad about the directions the industry was heading. He loved Golden Age comics and Marvel’s Masterworks reprint volumes, and DC’s Archives and classic newspaper strip collections. He didn’t care for DC’s New 52 reboots at first, but was slowly trying out some of them as the collections began to be released.

He would pull out his typed list of books he’d preordered, and we’d go through it together and figure out which items were delayed, and which items were so delayed maybe we should just give up on them. We’d just kind of shake our heads at the scheduling issues, with a “so whaddaya gonna do?” bemused resignation.

He remembered me once mentioning that my mother was a big Betty Boop fan, and during one of his visits to our shop, he brought me a Betty Boop Monopoly game to give to her.

He would also regularly call me between visits, just to get shipping updates and to make special item requests outside of his usual Previews orders. He’d usually end the call with “I’ll see you next week, God willing” or something similar.

A couple of weeks back I noticed that I hadn’t heard from Errol. Previews orders were due and he almost never missed turning one in. I called and left a message, suspecting that maybe he was back in the hospital again. I let him know that I hoped everything was okay, and that if he needed to turn in his order a bit late, that shouldn’t be a problem.

I called him again last week and left another message, simply to check up on him.

Earlier this week, suspecting the worst, I did a little Google searching, and found out Errol passed away about a month ago.

The Roy Thomas Presents the Phantom Lady hardcover came out this week. Errol was really looking forward to that. Mickey Spillane: From the Files of Mike Hammer is coming out next week…he’d been really waiting for that.

I suspect there will be several new releases in the foreseeable future that I’ll wish Errol could have been around to read and enjoy.

So long, Errol.

20 Responses to “Errol.”

  • C. Elam says:

    I keep struggling with something to say, because I feel like I should. I’ve also had the experience of regular customers passing away. It’s a hollow feeling, because you often don’t really, REALLY know them, but you still have formed a bond. Then things come up and they remind you of them. It still hurts.

    I never met the man, but he sounds like someone who read the same sort of books I do. Rest in peace, Errol.

  • M.A. Masterson says:

    Not to be reductive, but this is the sort of thing that “comics blogging” does when it’s at its best. People, not products. Our common humanity, not our shared capitalismo megainteresante.

  • A moving piece, my friend. My condolences.

  • Robert in New Orleans says:

    You’re a good friend. Rest in peace, Errol.

  • adam barnett says:

    We have our squabbles, but the comic book community is a great group of people.

  • Andres says:

    I’ve seen Errol around the shop a few times and it was nice to see someone who was genuinely a big comic fan enjoying himself. My condolences, Mike.

  • A similar situation to when I emailed you the other night, Mike. I’m a professional writer and the community in Chicago can be compared to the various comic shops and customers.

    You don’t see someone for a few months, but think nothing of it. Big city, big world, easy to miss someone by a half hour or so. It was after the holidays that I realized that a writer who always made comments on my FB posts–The Dr. Manhattan Twinkie ad, things like that–hadn’t replied in awhile. I assumed it was because, you know, the holidays. People go to Long Island or Lansing. Took awhile, but I found out Matthew was found by the police during a well-being check. He died with a book in his lap sometime around Thanksgiving.

    I guess my point is that no one here should feel overly guilty over not noticing someone’s sudden absence. I might have seen Matthew at various readings maybe four times a year, if it wasn’t for FB, I might not have known until summer. But I feel as if I should have suspicioned something at least a week or two earlier. Hope your friend knows peace, Mike. Stay well.

  • Bear says:

    Very well written and moving peace. My condolences to Errol’s friends and family.

  • Ex Employee Aaron says:

    I will miss him too Mike. He was a great guy and i will always remember the great conversations we had, and he always let me play with his action figures after i unwrapped them for him. Rest well Errol you will be missed.

  • The Sniffer says:

    I hope for Errol, Heaven has the greatest library ever seen. God Bless him.

  • So sorry, Mike.
    I can well imagine that despite Errol’s affliction, you provided him with “medicine” more curative and bringing of wellness than any doctor.

    His love was comics, and you provided that – and some friendship – to help his ails.

    Be at peace, Errol.
    Save a place at Heaven’s comic shoppe for us.

  • FxHx says:

    Errol was one of my absolute favorite customers when I worked at Ralph’s. Always nice. Quick with a joke. Goddamn, I am gonna miss him.

  • JB says:

    Huh. I wonder if he was a patron at my childhood comic shop in Poughkeepsie in the early-mid 80’s…

    A well-written tribute, Mike…

  • JRC says:

    that was good to read, even if it was also sad.
    thank you for sharing.

  • Matt Digges says:

    My condolences, Mike.

  • IT says:


    Surely his afterlife of choice has a comic book shop so he won’t miss those additions?

    Goodnight, sweet prince, etc.

  • buzz says:

    Further proof (as if any were needed) that none of us are an island.

    Very well written, touching tribute

  • philip says:

    Well said, Mike. Thanks.

  • ExistentialMan says:

    You are a kind man, Mr. Sterling. The fact that you took the time to go through Errol’s list each month to reconcile late shipping books says much of your character. That you called to check on him and wrote this post says even more. Thanks on behalf of Errol and all the other good folk out there.

  • Rob S. says:

    My condolences, Mike. I’m sorry for your loss.