May 22, 2008

Rory Root 1957-2008

Rory Root
image source: Comic Relief
Rory Root, founder and owner of the groundbreaking comic book retail store Comic Relief, and titan among comics retailers and the world of comics publishing in general, died on Monday, May 19, 2008, from complications from surgery. He was fifty years old.

Rory was a friend of twenty years. I came to know him because he was good friends of the owners of The Other Change of Hobbit. My partner Debbie Notkin was one of those owners, and over the years I had done various sorts of work for the store. But that's just how I met him. Over time, I played in his home poker game; then he played in my home poker game. He came to our parties. We went to his parties. While I was still working with OCOH, Rory would often snag us up to go to dinner after a signing at Comic Relief.

Rory was gregarious and affable, utterly likable, and big-hearted. When I walked into his store and he was around, as often as not he would thrust something into my hands and say, "Here, take this!" Sometimes he did it when we met on the street. And I note from the many reminiscences about him that have popped up on the Web the past couple of days, I was far from the only one.

He was a titan of comics retailing, more than just the owner of a single store. His knowledge of the field, both about the artistic content and the business, was unparalleled, and he shared his knowledge generously with everyone, helping new artists or publishers get started, and helping customers find what they wanted --sometimes before they knew they wanted it. He was active with libraries and with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. He was very pro-active about helping different artists' work be seen and different voices heard.

And of course, I liked him. I enjoyed standing on the sidewalk outside his store and shooting the breeze with him, or talking over the card table, or gossiping at a restaurant, or, or, or.... I'm going to miss him a lot.

I have no information yet about funeral or memorial services. Such information, when it becomes available will be on the Comic Relief Web pages.

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Posted by abostick at May 22, 2008 09:31 AM
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