Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rory Root -- One of the Greats

If you are into comics--especially those comics called variously "alternative comics" or "art comics"--you end up treasuring specific comic stores (and their owners/managers) for their quixotic support of this marginal subset of a marginal medium. Stores like Chicago Comics/Quimby's, Million Year Picnic, The Beguiling. And Comics Relief in Berkeley. I loved that store and its owner, Rory Root. And the funny thing is--I've never even been there.

I did see its simulacrum at the San Diego Comicon for several years. Root and his team would ship down the best of the store for that show, and it was a delight to visit.

He was one of the strongest customers of Westhampton House while it existed. He was friendly and accessible--a bit scary looking with his long stringy hair, snaggle teeth, beard, and wide-brim hat--the kind of nerd you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley. (I could relate.) But I liked seeing him and chatting with him, and appreciated the hell out of what he did for good comics in his one little store.

Rory Root died yesterday after a long illness.

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