I have a full post coming to catch up on the happenings of last week, but for now I’d just like to note the passing of a good man and dear friend.

Rory Root died Monday.

Rory owned the comic shop Comic Relief in Berkeley and was a cornerstone of the modern comics scene. You can read many, many testimonials about the man and his tremendous contribution to our industry on the net right now, so I don’t feel the need to provide a printed legacy here, but I do want to say Robyn and I liked Rory immensely. Walking out of the convention center Sunday evening at the close of last summer’s San Diego Comicon marathon, I saw Rory sitting on a concrete pillar smoking a cigarette. He looked like poppa bear to me so I went over and gave the big guy a hug, my arms barely making it around his shoulders. We exchanged a few words about the show and his smoking habit— he was going to quit— before I ran on to catch up with my group. Earlier this year at Wondercon, Robyn had a long conversation with Rory while I worked the table. They talked about everything from comics to his new resolve to get healthy. He’d quit smoking and lost weight. He was looking better. He was happy. We felt good about him.

The news of Rory’s death on Monday hit us like one of those awful Special News Reports you get on tv every once in awhile. Shock and disbelief. It’s so sad. We lost one of the good guys this week. If you didn’t know Rory, I promise, you would have liked him. And if you’re reading a comic or graphic novel today, Rory had something to do with that.

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3 thoughts on “

  1. The comics industry has lost one of it’s pillars. Just a few weeks ago, I along with several other members from the Comic Geek Speak forum were planning a Free Comic Book Day Bay Area crawl. Rory joined the forum just to extend a personal invitation for us to visit his store. But it wasn’t just his store he was promoting; he suggested several other comic shops worth stopping at as well. Regrettably, I couldn’t make it to his shop that day (I was visiting my sister who had just given birth to her third son). I have only been to Comic Relief once, and that was before their relocation, but I always made a point to stop by his booth at APE and WonderCon. The man knew comics, but more importantly he knew people. Rory was practicing Free Comic Book Day long before it was an event.

    “The first one’s free kid.”
    Rory Root

  2. Sucky time for comics – also losing Will Elder, and Gene Colan really sick right now.

  3. My deepest condolences, Rory Root sounds like one of the cooler/nicer comic shop owners that make you come back to their shop.

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