Last night a bunch of folks gathered together to remember editor and comics community member Marc Wilkofsky, who died last month. There was a dinner at a diner and then a bunch of folks at a quiet lounge telling stories and laughing. The dinner was a bunch that hadn’t been in the same place since before 9/11, a core group of NYC chapter Friends of Lulu foot soldiers. Friends I made through FoL, like Mike Brisbois and Dave Roman and John Green, Ed Douglas and Abby Denson. Good friends and people.
At the memorial, Dave had put together a lovely zine with stories and photos. Marc would have liked it for sure, but even more he would have liked the gathering and remembrances that poured out. I knew Marc far less than many—I missed out on most of his legendary birthday parties, for instance. But I was delighted by the stories of his Zelig-like ability to appear on TV—a recurring role on a Tempestt Bledsoe show, a teaser on Nickelodeon—and his legendary dance moves and love of karaoke and kindness and thoughtfulness towards others in general.
I was also told of his wisdom regarding ending the local Friends of Lulu chapter. Mark’s tireless efforts enabled Fol-NYC to close in good standing with the IRS and in the black. They were even able to make a sizable donation to Girls Inc. NY with the remaining monies, a nice example of pay it forward.
As with any death that tales place far from one’s friends, there was a bit of a detective story aspect to last night as well as various people pieced together Marc’s last year. I think those who loved him were able to get a sense of closure about some things.
For me, meeting others who knew Marc from other aspects of his life, all with their funny, warm stories, was a reminder that every person’s story is part of a tapestry of time and place, touching other lives, with unseen connections and gifts. And sometimes the seemingly humblest person has the most to give.
This morning I was also reading TCJ’s extraordinary page of remembrances of the late Spain Rodriguez. It’s a fascinating snapshot of the birth of underground comics, with the intertwining lives of Crumb and Spiegelman and more, as well as a tribute to a man who made an impression on everyone he met and whose spirit was conveyed in his robust, vital art.
I’m not sure exactly what the takeaway from all this is…except the simple one to stay close to the ones you love, and don’t let stupid shit get in the way because life is painfully, shockingly short. And also that we all meet so many extraordinary people along the way in so many unexpected places…keep your heart open to the potential that life offers you.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.