2016 is being a real sonofabitch. David Bowie, Lemmy, Dave Mirra, Harper Lee. And now comics artist Paul Ryan. Although I’ve enjoyed the work of all these people, Ryan is the only one I’ve ever met.
May 9, 2010 was Avengers Day. The event Siege had recently concluded and a new Avengers #1 was hitting stands. My local shop, That’s Entertainment, invited former Avengers artist Paul Ryan to meet fans, sign books, and draw. I won’t act like we had some grand relationship; our conversation consisted of small talk and a simple exchange.
“Could you do a sketch for me?”
“Sure, who would you like?”
“Who’s your favorite bad guy?”
And off he went.
The sketch is still one of my favorites.
As time goes on, the comics industry keeps losing more of its veterans. Except Stan Lee. Stan Lee will never die. (You hear me, God?!)
What I want to say is, make sure you recognize these people while you still can. Even if you don’t have something to get sign or want to buy anything from them, if you see someone whose work you appreciate at a convention, let them know. No one has ever regretted telling an artist they enjoy their work. And no artist can ever hear too much praise.