I received word yesterday that Rory Root, the owner of Comic Relief in Berkeley, passed away. I first met Rory over ten years ago, when I'd just started making comics. Since then, he has carried every issue of every comic I've ever done, whether it was hand-stapled or professionally printed. He offered me advice, encouragement, and insight at every step of my career. And I know I wasn't the only one. Many, many cartoonists first set foot in the comics industry by putting a photocopied mini-comic on the shelves of Rory's shop. Rory supported and respected creators, regardless of the size of their print runs.
His generosity wasn't limited to cartoonists. When my wife, a fourth grade teacher, needed a class set of comics for a reading activity, Rory handed her a box of Spider-mans, free of charge.
I'm still in shock. Rory was such an integral part of the comics world, it's difficult to imagine going to a convention without bumping into him. He will be missed.
(Photo stolen from Tom Spurgeon's excellent Comics Reporter)
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