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We Lost One Of The Good Ones

To be clear: any life lost is irreplaceable, and each of us is unique. But I can’t get over the grief of damn near everybody in comics at the sudden and unexpected death of Jesse Hamm earlier today — his wife, Anna Sahrling-Hamm, said it was a pulmonary embolism — because it seems that everybody in comics knew Jesse Hamm. Knew him, or knew somebody that knew him.

The number of people posting that he was their first friend in comics is staggering.

I never had the good luck to meet him, but he was a part of Helioscope since forever, and a mainstay of the Portland (and earlier, Bay Area) comics scenes. He was generous with his knowledge out of all measure, and was widely expected to write one of those books on the history and theory of comics that would be a definitive reference for the ages.

As near as I can tell, there’s nobody that didn’t like him and respect him more; if he wasn’t a household name, he did exemplary work — including on a fill-in basis when bigger names needed a break for an issue or two — and spent his time tirelessly sharing his comics knowledge, trying to make the next generation(s) of comics artists smarter, more skilled, and better able to navigate professional careers.

Feelings of loss are sharp and raw right now, but I find it illustrative of who he was that the first thoughts of some are to be found in laughter — bitter respite now, but I’m certain that in time it will be how he’s remembered. And I’m confident that judging by the grief and loss, his memory will be fresh for a long time; his work will live on in unnumbered comics careers made better by his lessons. With any luck, he knew how much he was treasured.

May everybody that knew him, or knew somebody that knew him, find comfort and peace and comfort in those memories.

Spammers don’t get to share the day with Jesse.

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