Well known fan personality and former trivia whiz Mike Chary passed away suddenly over the weekend. Chary was a regular on the forums of the olden days and Usenet, the primal dungeons on online fandom.

He was also a regular on the Fan Trivia team at Chicago Comic Con’s annual Fan v Pro trivia contest.

The above photo is from sometime in the late 90s, probably, at Wizard World Chicago. Mike was probably either helping out of gently teasing me about something to do with FRiends of Lulu as you can see the booth in the background.

I hadn’t seen Mike in many years but he was a regular presence to many people in the midwest and my heart goes out to all his family and friends.



  1. Those of you who knew Mike online (from Usenet, from Howling Curmudgeons, from wherever) know that he was opinionated, brash, and ready to debate over the smallest issue at the drop of a hat. Those of us who knew him in real life know that he was … opinionated, brash, and ready to debate over the smallest issue at the drop of a hat. But he was also generous, compassionate, and utterly kind-hearted. I had the privilege of calling him my friend, and I have lost track of the number of times Mike went out of his way to help me without even being asked. From the simple things like buying me lunch to the more complicated things like being there for me when I was going through some family issues, Mike was always the first to step up when he saw a need. He was, simply put, a good man. I’m richer for having known him, and the world is poorer for no longer having him in it.

  2. I’ve known Mike since we were both freshmen at Case Western Reserve University (OMG, 30 yerars!) I don’t recall exactly, but I might possibly have been the one to introduce him to Usenet. :) on ancient VaxStations in the Smith Computer Lab.

    I’m struck by the consistency of people’s memories – knowledgeable but gruff, standoffish but loyal, and so on. If you met him online (he cut a w-i-d-e swath through several different online forums) you might not know that he really was as gentle, steadfastly loyal, compassionate, and “out-of-his-way to help/protect friends” as anyone I’ve known.

    Planet Earth is truly and literally poorer for his absence. =(

  3. I knew Mike when I was active in rec.arts.comics in the 1990s. We argued a lot. He pissed me off a lot. I’m pretty sure it was mutual, but I was not special in that regard.

    However: Back in those days I read an article that talked about contingency planning for crazy worst-case scenarios, such as finding yourself the target of a government conspiracy, or the mob putting out a hit on you. It suggested identifying someone that no one who knows you would ever think of you turning to for help… but whom you could absolutely trust to do anything in their power to help you, if you did. I thought of Mike Chary.

  4. I was active on rec.arts.comics in the 80s and 90s, and Mike was a frequent correspondent. As others have said: gruff, a voracious curiosity that could be mistaken for terseness, but a true sweetheart.

    I just came across some email from him in the late 90s — he’d bought his first laserdisc player, and he was peppering me with questions. A very bittersweet read.

    Thanks for letting us know, Heidi.

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