This is the part I hate the most. I know that I hate it because I did it earlier this year (a couple or times, in fact, all for the same friend).
My Friend Rusty Haller died unexpectedly this week. Eric Lopkin was the one who told me, and I passed the information on to a few friends and some of the comicbook media. I know that Eric eulogized Rusty over in his column (interestingly enough using Rusty’s bio on Comicbook Database.com — I that I wrote for Rusty, based on Rusty’s own words).
I’d really like to say that I had known Rusty a long time, and I did, sort of, but the truth was that I really only met Rusty a couple of years ago when we met through The Comicbook Artist’s Guild (CAG). Over the couple of years we did get to know each other quite well, though. In fact, the more that Rusty and I spoke, the more I realized that we knew all the same people. Some of Rusty’s earliest work was published by Rich Maruzzio and Jim Main, a couple of guys I had hung around with here in CT some 25 years ago. Rusty also worked for Marvel (as did I) during the ‘80s. Like me, he was published in Marvel Age (he also did work for Marvel’s Star Line of Comics).
Most recently, Rusty and I collaborated on a couple of projects (he illustrated the cartoon that accompanies this post), plus he inked the first five installments of a web comic that I’m writing (Girl Skout Warz — more on that another time), and I was talking to him about another web comic idea or two that I had. I was looking forward to working with him.
I also managed to hook Rusty up with Boom Studios, and I am pretty sure they were expecting some test pages from him this week to send to Disney. A real bummer. I heard back from a contact I have over there who was very upset and offered his condolences.
It helps, but not really, as I’m still down another friend, and truthfully, I don’t really have that many that I can afford to lose any (more).
Rusty lived with his mom (his father had passed on years ago), and his mom died earlier this year, forcing Rusty to relocate from his native CT out to Ohio. As I understand it, his roommate in Ohio was the one who notified us all that Rusty was gone. Apparently Rusty (who had some medical issues) passed away in his sleep.
I wish I had more, but I really don’t.
However I have learned that Doc Boucher, President of Inter-Fan Productions, would like to induct Rusty into his IF Fandom Hall of Fame. With the induction, Doc is asking that anyone who would like to post testimonials about Rusty on the site, would feel free to contact him about doing so. You can write directly to Doc at (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I want to thank everyone who does so for honoring our friend and colleague in this fashion.