When I first moved to New York City in 1976, as it happened, Dave had a room to rent and I needed a place to live. We didn’t know each other at all, but it worked out fine for the eight months or so I stayed there. Dave was good-natured, easygoing and easy to get along with—also, totally honest and honorable. The place was great. I tended to avoid the room where he kept the snakes and lizards. They stunk. Or, I guess, some of what they ate stunk. Anyway….
Dave was drawing the Uncanny X-Men back then and I was working on staff at Marvel and writing the Legion of Super-Heroes for DC—that seems odd, I know, but it’s a strange biz. Anyway, Dave loved kibitzing on my LSH stories. He always had good suggestions and insightful comments. Both of us loved the LSH. Dave had his drawing table set up in what otherwise would have been the dining room, just off the kitchen. I did most of my “homework” and writing sitting on the living room couch, in sight of his workspace. We’d talk. Not the best thing to do while I was trying to write, but we had some really great conversations about work, life, the world and what could be done about all of the above.
Dave and I worked together a good bit while we were both at Marvel, and a few times after that. Dave was a great artist and an amazing creator. His work and his creations changed comics dramatically, irrevocably, forever. Let me emphasize that: he changed the paradigm. If you don’t know that, it’s because you don’t know enough about what went on to know that, and because you never worked with him. He doesn’t get nearly enough credit.
Through thick and thin and thinner and thinner, Dave and I always remained friends. Even when being a friend of mine wasn’t fashionable.
I’ll miss you, Dave. This world is significantly poorer without you.
For decades, Paul S. Newman wrote Turok Son of Stone. During its long run, the marketplace underwent dramatic changes. No matter. Trends flourished and vanished. So what? Turok was a constant, a unique, all-weather, all-terrain title built to last. That’s amazing. Paul was King of the comic book writers indeed.
Will Eisner was good and kind to me when that was not fashionable. He was always glad to see me no matter what the fanzines and fatheads were saying about me at the time. He had been unjustly vilified more than once during his long career, so he saw right through the nonsense. We were friends. We had many long talks about the business and life in general. Though he was thirty-four years older than me, we had a great deal in common in terms of experiences in the business, the never ending battle for truth, justice and distribution, fatheads, etc. Will always made me feel that “…this, too, shall pass away,” no matter how bad “this” was. Press on, he said. I did. Wise, thoughtful, brilliant, insightful—what a man. What a loss for all of us his death is. It is only polite to mention that he was a genius, but you already knew that.