Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rory Root's memorial - guest column

Our California correspondent Miron Mercury sent this in tonight:

June 21 the first day of summer was as hot as a barb on Q and the longest day in memory. My birthday and Rory Root's memorial shared the same heat drenched day.

Comic Relief, the famous Berkeley, California comicbook shop that Rory and Mike Patchen opened in April 1987, hosted the memorial party.

Hundreds of geeks and freaks, punks and hippies, parents with their children and children who found a home in the warm embrace of a comics store came to pay homage to a fallen brother.

The crowd littered the sidewalk like scree spilled from a mountain hidden in the store. The store floor was packed, resembling a crowded George Perez superhero poster. In attendance were heroes and heroines from many companies, countries and decades.
Ron Turner, still looking like himself, Joe Field, a founder of WonderCon, owner of Flying Colors, creator of Free Comics Day, and representatives of the Berkeley Downtown improvement

Everyone toasted Rory with stories and remembrances. Some people, actually lots of friends, toasted Rory with glasses drank in his memory. Salute. La Chaim. We drink to life.

The event felt like a warm fuzzy Viking's funeral. I do suspect that if Rory were there he'd want a pyre.

Mark and Molly Bode were there. Things are good for them. You know about the (not so) recent cartoon movie deal. Also, he's been working with Puma, the sneaker manufacturer. There's some kind of Bode Lizard 'Hoodie' that's going to be made. The future bodes well ... for us all.

More then a two dozen people spoke on Rory's behalf.

Bob Wayne, representing DC comics, spoke highly of Rory's devotion to comics. He reminded the attentive audience that Rory was always, 'Asking, cajoling and bothering me to get DC to publish graphic novels and keep them in print. He was never slow to pay a compliment and just as quick to call me up over an error our company was making.'

The lovely Sequential Tart reminded every one of Rory's quick and immediate support. She was, like many speakers, grateful to Rory.

My short piece felt twice to long when in front of a watching crowd.

Some speeches went on for hours! Were those people part Ent?

??? Hey??? What's this white cylindrical object in my pocket in an Altoids tin? Ahh, it's labeled ''Rory Root Rocket.'' It must be a memorial thing.

Picture a small group of astro nuts walking two baby blocks to the alley behind the original Comic Relief store. Once in the alley one large rotund guy in a Green Lantern shirt says to a short underground gent wearing a Jack Kirby Silver Surfer, 'Hey, you have a Larry Todd Proto Pipe! :) Well, let me fill that up.'

Then a guy came running into the alley pulling at his shirt buttons. He saw the crowd and exclaimed, 'Sheesh, there's never an empty ally any more!' He seem to be wearing a strange red undershirt with a huge S on it.

The Rory rocket was ignited without NASA's guidance. It sent everyone to the moon.

The memorial was a happy couple of hours. It provided an opportunity for old and new friends to renew their connections and remember rewarding decades now past. The smiles on everyone's face said, I'm glad I knew Rory. Our spirit was boosted by the warmth of friends, pals and comics countrymen.

Alee O'Saurous

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