I’ve been sitting here at work all morning dreading my lunch break, as I knew I was going to need to share this news with you. Now that the time has come I’m doing my best to hold back the emotions as they try to take over. This morning the world lost a true leader in the comic book world. A family lost a loving husband and father, and I lost a great friend. Gary Reed meant a lot to me, and a lot to a great number of people. I am going to try to not ramble on about his history in comics, it is all out there on the internet for you to see, but instead I going to do my best to focus on what Gary meant to me.
When I first got into Horror Comics, I fell in love with Deadworld. The cream of the crop when it comes to Zombie Comic Books, which was eventually published and written by Gary Reed . In 2010 I met Gary for the first time at C2E2, and while I was trying not to gush over meeting him, he was happy as can be to meet a fan like me. From that point forward a friendship was formed. The bond grew stronger as we emailed back and forth talking about Deadworld, Saint Germaine and his other various works. I thought I was the coolest person around, talking to him and having him respond to me.
As time went on, and I started to do more in the Comic Book World, I became friends with Rafael Nieves. Raf had worked with Gary numerous times and the two were very close friends, hell they were practically brothers. Through my friendship with Raf, I only got closer to knowing Gary. I remember the three of us having dinner one night after a show in Indiana. No comic talk at all, just shooting the shit about life. That is how you judge your friendship with someone, not talking shop. Gary cared to know about me and my life, and I his.
I would run into Gary at shows, and even made it out to attend Detroit FanFare one year. It’s funny to think back now, because I seriously think I attended most of these shows to just hang with my friend. Sure I was there to talk to others, cover the shows and what not, but these were the places where we could get together to just see each other and hang out.
It was at the second C2E2 in 2011 where Gary, Raf, Dirk Manning and Cullen Bunn were all my guests at the panel I hosted on Horror Comics. What I remember most from this was how when the panel was over Gary ran out of the room then returned a couple minutes later saying “Damn I had to pee that whole time!” Sorry Gary, I had to share that.
As the past few years went by I had the honor to work on projects with Gary. I created websites for him and his properties. I had no problem lending a hand when I could, but had no idea what it would eventually lead to.
In 2011 Gary asked me to write the forward for Deadworld Classics Volume 2. I was floored and could not believe he would ask me to do this. Here I am being asked to write the forward for my favorite comic book, and being asked by one of the best comic book writers of all time. I remember how many revisions we had to do on it because I was just gushing on it left and right. Gary knew my love for the material and had no problem letting me be a part of it. Since then I worked with him on the Deadworld Trading Cards, the new Deadworld Archive books, the Deadworld Coloring Book, and so much more Caliber material that was going to be re-released soon. Gary always trusted my vision on things, and let me design them as I wanted.
Our friendship grew and grew over all this time, and it’s crazy to think now that it was only 6 years short. I never had the honor of meeting his family, but I feel like I know them. Gary would tell me about his wife and girls all the time. We would joke about how my daughter was coming into the world, while his youngest was moving out. His family meant so much to him, and I don’t think that limited to just immediate family. His comic family mattered too.
When you look back on Gary’s life and see all of the names of the people he worked with you will be amazed. We would always joke about the curse, as an artist who would work on the book would be called away by the Big 2 before finishing, and he would not stand in their way. He was a launching pad for careers, and never stood in the way. He loved the industry, it meant so much to him.
I looked up to Gary, like no other. He did it right, and I will never know how he truly juggled it all. Family, Friends, Work , Comics, A line of Deadworld Soda and Chips, a Publishing Company, Toy Lines and we were even working on a Deadworld Card Game. People will call him a Mentor, and he was. People will call him a Leader, and he was. People will call him a Pioneer, and he was. But I will always call Gary Reed, a friend.
[Editor’s Note: Step into Dan and Gary’s world in this episode of Deep Discussions With Decapitated Dan ]