Robert L. Washington III, probably best known as one of the writers of the brilliant Static comic book in the 1990s, has died of a heart attack at age 47.
This is hitting me way
harder than today's other writer death, Ray Bradbury. Bradbury's death definitely qualifies as a national tragedy, but it's not something that really affected me personally. There are other writers who've had a far greater impact on me as a reader and writer, and I didn't really know him personally, so his death is far more of an abstract tragedy for me -- compounded by the fact that he was 91, so we can take some comfort from the fact that he led a long and fruitful life.
Bob, though, was a friend once, someone I'd worked with and considered a colleague, though I hadn't really been in regular touch with him since 1998. He did a couple of short stories for me for the Marvel anthologies that we did as part of the Marvel novels program that I edited that ran from 1994 to 2000 -- "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Courier" in The Ultimate Spider-Man
and the brilliant, unorthodox Mephisto story "Child's Play" in The Ultimate Super-Villains
-- and we used to talk on the phone all the time. He was a great guy with a wonderful sense of humor.
I saw him unexpectedly on 11 September 2001. That day, when I was (for obvious reasons) glued to my TV screen, one of the lower-Manhattan workers being interviewed by Channel 5 was Bob, who was working as an accountant at that point. The next time I saw him was at Ubercon in 2005.
According to his obit on ComicMix
, he'd actually been having some hard times and been homeless, though he was helped out by the Hero Initiative
, and was getting his shit together.
For the record, that's now three people in their 40s who were good friends of mine at one time who are now dead, not to mention another person in his 40s who used to be married to my girlfriend. That can seriously fucking stop now.