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Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015).

§ February 28th, 2015 § Filed under obituary, star trek § 1 Comment

Yes, I’ve posted this pic from that 1977 All About Star Trek Fan Clubs magazine before, but, you know, it’s been nine years, and I’m thinkin’ now is the right time to appreciate it again.

So long, Leonard, and thanks for everything.

Robin Williams (1951 – 2014).

§ August 12th, 2014 § Filed under obituary § 2 Comments

“My happy thought…

I got it! I got it! I found it!”

Hook (1991) was not much liked by critics at the time, as I recall, but I sure enjoyed the heck out of it then, and still love it now. I just rewatched it a couple of weeks back, in fact. That scene, that scene, when Peter finally realizes what his happy thought is, the one that will make him fly again…it gets me, every single time.

So long, Robin. Thank you for all the happy thoughts you gave to all of us.

• • •

Site note: sorry for the radio silence, as I’ve been ill. I’ll resume regular posting shortly.

Alan Moore only wished the transitions in his comics were this awesome.

§ November 4th, 2013 § Filed under obituary § 2 Comments

From Bat Lash #3 (Feb-Mar 1969), written by Sergio Aragones and Denny O’Neil, and drawn by Nick Cardy. I once saw a review of this comic that described the above panels as a terrible scene transition, but that person was wrong. Oh so wrong.

Mr. Cardy passed away last night. He drew some beautiful comics, including a whole lotta Teen Titans, and one of my favorite completely bonkers World’s Finest covers.

So long, Mr. Cardy. You did wonderful work, and hopefully people will continue to discover it for years to come.

Kim Thompson.

§ June 24th, 2013 § Filed under fantagraphics, obituary § 6 Comments

As I’m sure you know, Fantagraphics mainstay Kim Thompson has passed away at the far too young age of 56. I was a fan of Thompson’s work on The Comics Journal and Amazing Heroes, and of course have enjoyed many comics that he helped along the path of publication. Tom Spurgeon gathered together lists of some Thompson-related publications from fans here, and gives a more general overview of his contributions to the comics world here.

A few comics from the archives that have Thompson credited as editor:

Critters was Thompson’s funny animal anthology, containing a high-quality selection of material throughout its run. This issue, near the end of its run, was a follow-up to Mike Kazaleh’s sci-fi comedy Adventures of Captain Jack, catching up with a couple of cast members after the end of that series in a decidedly down-to-earth non sci-fi story. I see in one of the above links that Spurgeon mentioned Thompson’s dismay that Kazaleh didn’t have more exposure in the industry…well, I found Kazaleh thanks to Fantagraphics, and I’ve been a fan since. Once, at a local convention, Kazaleh was a guest, sketching Ninja Turtle after Ninja Turtle for kids, since that’s what he was working on at the time. I asked for a Captain Jack drawing, and he was so happy he almost insisted I take it for free!

I’ve spoken about Eye of Mongombo before…a bizarrely hilarious adventure book in the style of Carl Barks’ duck books, kinda sorta. Still not complete, but still completely great. Thompson is listed as editor, and if he was responsible for getting this published under the Fantagraphics banner…oh, man, thank you.

I miss seeing the occasional J.R. Williams comic from Fantagraphics, but I’m grateful for the ones we got.

I honestly don’t have a lot to add that hasn’t already been said more thoroughly and more eloquently by others about the passing of Kim Thompson. All I know is that his name was on a lot of comics and magazines I enjoyed, and I’m thankful for his efforts in bringing them to us.

So long, Kim.

Carmine, George, and Roger.

§ April 5th, 2013 § Filed under obituary § 5 Comments

So whenever I think of Star Wars comics, just, you know, as a general concept, and not as something specific I’m staring at on a rack or processing for the back issue bins, this is the cover that I picture:

The Star Wars comics were young Mike’s first regular exposure to the work of Carmine Infantino, and though in the past I’ve poked a little fun here once or twice at the somewhat off-model stylings of the Star Warriors in that series, they still remain some of the most memorable of my youth…almost certainly because of the work of Mr. Infantino.

Of course, I would come to learn and love his work on the Flash, especially in this wonderful issue that I read so often since buying it off the stands that I ended up having to buy a replacement copy a couple of decades later:

…And of course there were his Batman comics, Detective Chimp, Adam Strange, Elongated Man, and much more than I can easily list here.

Carmine Infantino passed away yesterday at the age of 87. So long, Carmine, and thanks for all the swell comics.

• • •

Another notable comics passing is George Gladir, one of the industry’s hardest working writers, having worked for both Archie Comics (cocreating Sabrina with Dan DeCarlo) and Cracked. To be frank, his was not a name I immediately recognized, but boy, did I read a lot of Cracked when I was a kid in the ’70s (the Nineteen-Seventies, you wiseacres) so certainly I must have been exposed to plenty of his work. My condolences to his family, friends, and fans.

And I would be remiss if I did not note the passing of Roger Ebert. The loss of his great wit and intelligence is a sad one, but thankfully he left behind no small amount of writing that will continue to entertain and educate us for a long time to come. It was he and his longtime reviewing partner Gene Siskel that introduced Young Me to the idea that film criticism was even a thing, and perhaps, even more generally, the idea that one’s entertainment can be thoughtfully considered and not just passively absorbed.

He was also a supporter of the silliness my friends and I perpetrated on Twitter, and his agreement to write the introduction to our book is one we are still infinitely grateful for.

Thank you, Roger, for everything.


§ 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.

Joe Kubert (1926 – 2012).

§ August 12th, 2012 § Filed under obituary § 2 Comments

Another comics legend passes: Joe Kubert died Sunday morning at the age of 85.

We recently acquired at the shop a good handful of classic Our Army at War comics, all featuring Kubert’s wonderful cover work. I think this was my favorite of the bunch, with such a great collection of character portraits on a single cover:

Mr. Kubert was a huge talent and a definite inspiration to many folks in the field. He was a teacher for my pal Tom Foxmarnick and for many other of my favorite artists, including Steve Bissette, who has his own memorial here.

A year or so ago, I wrote up a little thing about Kubert’s never-released Redeemer series, though it appears we may see a bit of it in the (hopefully still) forthcoming Joe Kubert Presents anthology, which will now be bit of a bittersweet memorial to one of the industry’s finest.

So long, Joe…you were one of the great ones, still doing significant and impressive work right up ’til today. You’ll definitely be missed.

Two Ray Bradbury books.

§ June 7th, 2012 § Filed under obituary § 4 Comments

I have no idea where I got this book, a 1976 hardcover of Long After Midnight:

It’s been sitting on my bookshelves for well over thirty years. Did I pick it up at a yard sale? Did my Nana (never “Grandma,” only “Nana”), who always gave me books, give this to me as well? I honestly have no memory of its origin. But I do know I read through it plenty as a kid, and I realize now it’s been a long time since I’ve last perused it. I think it’s time again.

Now, this next book, Dinosaur Tales from 1983:

…might as well have been titled Mike, Grab This Book off The Shelf And Buy It Immediately, because dude, it’s stories about dinosaurs by Ray Bradbury (yes, including the most famous one of all), with illustrations by Bill Stout, Moebius, Steranko, and Gahan Wilson, among others. This is such a great package of wonderful words and pictures. And dinosaurs.

So long, Ray, and thanks for all those wonderful words, in these books and so many others.

Jean (Moebius) Giraud (1938 – 2012).

§ March 11th, 2012 § Filed under obituary § 1 Comment

I’d been aware of the work of Moebius before coming across The Incal as it was being serialized in Heavy Metal back in the early ’80s…but there was something about the art, the weird things happening in the story, the nearly dreamlike quality of the whole endeavor, that grabbed my attention.

For whatever reason, I didn’t get all the chapters as they were serialized, but a few years later I certainly snapped up the three volume Incal series Marvel published. Finally getting the whole story together…well, didn’t make things any more clear, but it’s still beautiful and interesting and just plain strange. And that’s fine with me.

Thanks, Moebius, for this and your other wonderful works.

(Here is the L.A. Times obituary, which is a lot more eloquent than I am. EDIT: And here is a much more thorough obituary from Tom Spurgeon.)

Peter Bergman (1939 – 2012).

§ March 10th, 2012 § Filed under obituary § 6 Comments

Peter Bergman (pictured on the right), one of the four or five guys from the Firesign Theatre, passed away Friday morning.

The Firesign Theatre site has a memorial page that you can visit right here.

You were a funny guy, Mr. Bergman. Thank you for all the entertainment and laughs you’ve provided over the years, and I, along with all your family and friends and fans, are grateful that you’ll continue to live on in the work you’ve left behind.

So long, Peter.

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