Longtime readers of the strip know I don’t just stop updating. Three years of grad school, and I’ve missed maybe one update. But as some of you may know (from Twitter or the Multiplex Facebook page), a friend of mine died in a car crash on Wednesday.
Ryan Love and I went to school together from 3rd grade until graduating high school, and he was probably the one person most responsible for me getting interested in comics. When we were kids, I read all his He-Man mini-comics, because my parents never bought me any of those toys. After I got into comics, he read my DC stuff, and I read his Marvel comics. He bought my comics for me on the sly when my mother banned me from reading them for getting “bad grades.” We co-created a ton of really dumb superheroes together, plus a couple of cool ones.
We drifted a bit after high school — different colleges and just part of growing up and being interested in different things. We kept in touch (not as much as we should have), and when we got together, we mostly talked about comics, he would badger me to join our high school friends’ Fantasy Football League (never going to happen), and we’d argue about something or another. He was great at arguing.
Since I was back in my hometown (Peoria, Illinois) for the Artist and Comic Expo, we had lunch on Monday, two days before he died. I hadn’t seen him in about three years, since the last time I had visited Peoria. This time we talked about comics, Age of Ultron, Game of Thrones, and how we’ve both recently become engaged. He badgered me to join our friends for their annual get-together to watch “the draft.” I think that has something to do with football.
I also gave him a copy of Multiplex: There and Back Again. I inscribed it, “This book is all your fault.”
Even though we didn’t talk nearly as often as we did when we were little, time doesn’t change how much friends meant before, or how much of them was and continues to be a part of you.
Multiplex needs to take a short break while I head back to Peoria to go to his memorial service, and then immediately turn around and head over to Denver Comic Con. Hopefully I’ll find time to work on the strip somewhere in there, but in any event, I’ll start posting new strips in two weeks.