50 Comics Positives For 2014: The Struggle To Appreciate Bhob Stewart
One of the ideas that I've mulled over since the passing of Kim Thompson in 2013 is that comics seems to have a difficult time processing the contributions of those who aren't explicitly or perhaps primarily comics-makers unless they can lay hands on an iconic character, and that this is doubly true when it comes to assessing how art comics and comics of personal expression have gained a toehold in the wider world over the last 50 years. I've seen some writers about comics that were at one point as trenchant as any commentator currently going pass away with barely a word save from those that enjoyed a personal relationship with that person over the years. I think we lose something when people are immediately forgotten.
That's why I appreciated the struggle to come to terms with the passing of Bhob Stewart back in February, and how that took a few months for people to get through. Because of his talent and his stature and because of the multiple times he found himself in key positions of proximity to what was going on with the emerging art form of comics, in addition to certain aspects of counter-culture more generally -- and because his contributions were right there to see -- Stewart demanded attention. His passing also forced those that did so to go down some strange rabbit holes of how we got here from there, elements of expression important once upon a time and seemingly less so in our memories. Stewart was a familiar personality for any community of artists, I think, and I suspect he was probably best remembered in e-mail circles and in personal discussions at things like his May memorial in New York City. I hope we can become as open to recalling the possibilities of every person that will one day be gone.