November 2019 was a tough month for comic industry deaths. On November 13th, we lost “writer, editor, foundational blogger at The Comics Reporter,” and Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC) executive director Tom Spurgeon. We barely had time to catch our collective breaths before the daughter of Howard Cruse, also known as the “godfather of gay/queer comics,” announced via Facebook that her father had passed away on the afternoon of November 26th. Cruse’s contribution to comics is tough to overestimate, especially to the LGBTQIA comics community. On the day of his death, then managing editor Samantha Puc wrote:
As the founding editor of Gay Comix, the creator of Barefootz, and the cartoonist behind the comic strip Wendel and the graphic novel Stuck Rubber Baby, Cruse helped pave the way for LGBTQ creators and content in comics at a time when queer content was mostly relegated to underground comix.
Robyn Chapman, Cruse’s editor on the forthcoming 25th Anniversary Edition of Stuck Rubber Baby, which unfortunately Cruse did not live to see, has created a GoFundMe page to support a memorial event in his honor at The LGBT Community Center in New York City. This celebration of Cruse’s life will take place on Saturday, March 28, 2020, from 6-8:30 pm in Room 301 at 208 W 13th St, New York, NY 10011.
Chapman, who also runs Paper Rocket MiniComics, said the memorial aims to celebrate his “Art and life” in a place that held a great deal of meaning for Cruse:
I’m working with a group of his friends and colleagues to host a memorial event in New York—a city where Howard practiced his art-making and activism, and where he met his partner of forty years, Ed Sedarbaum.
She hopes to raise $6,500 to cover the cost of the venue and catering. “After these costs are covered,” wrote Chapman, “any additional donations will go to Howard’s estate.” Chapman is joined in planning the fundraiser by comic industry luminaries Denis Kitchen, John Lind, Karen Green, Jennifer Camper, and Jay Blotcher.