April 3


We’re Losing Greats, and Our Humanity.


April 3, 2024

ed piskor, mark bright

This was a sad week in comics. There’s just no way around that statement, and I’m still in a somber mood over it all. We lost artist Mark D. Bright, whose work with Dwayne McDuffie on Icon opened me up to the Milestone Comics universe. But there’s another tragedy rightfully taking over the headlines.

Cartoonist Ed Piskor passed away Monday morning, marking a tragic end to an unfortunate scandal that had been brewing for the previous week. I mentioned the sobering nature of the allegations last week, and I believe they should have been investigated fully so that those involved could be held accountable. But there’s no world where this should have cost anyone their lives.

In the days since Ed’s passing, I’ve been digging through old video profiles and podcasts of his. My favorite is a 40-minute interview conducted in his home, where he demonstrates long-obsolete lettering and screen tone processes while illustrating a happy little monster. It seems there were two Eds — Ed the passionate cartoonist & comic nerd, and Ed the Kayfaber. As a relative newcomer in the space, I had mostly come to know the latter. I allowed Ed’s edgy persona and gruesome artwork to stop me from diving deeper, or even meeting the man when I had the opportunity. Now I wish I hadn’t. After seeing the reactions of those closest to him, it’s clear Ed used his callous persona as a sort of shield from the same types of forces he ultimately succumbed to. Perhaps there’s a lesson here for all of us.

When I started my YouTube Channel a few years ago, it was largely to create an oasis from the rage bait and culture war infighting that seemed to dominate the online conversation. Watching Twitter this past week seemed to capture the worst I’ve seen of it. I saw some absolutely disgusting posts, even after the situation turned for the worst.

In our rush to be on the right side of history, or at least to be the most prominent voices in our respective sides of the culture war, we seem to forget that there are real people at the other end of our words and actions. People with families, friends, and feelings. People with hopes and dreams not unlike our own. It’s all Kayfabe, until it isn’t.

I know the tribalism we’re experiencing in comics is just a microcosm of American society. But because our group is so small, it feels infinitely worse. As Sanford Greene put it, our community is fragile.

These words aren’t meant to bring shame to Piskor’s accusers, or to lift the man above the reach of scrutiny. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for the accusers and Ed’s family to be tied together in this way. But this situation should cause the rest of us to think twice before fanning the flames of social media. There are real consequences to every action.

It’s all Kayfabe, until it isn’t.

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