A tribute to Mark
Longtime fan and friend Mark Ruelius passed away earlier this month. Sometime Comix Connection Counter Monkey Shawn Skvarna posted a thoughtful and heartfelt tribute on his blog about friendship and geeking out and comic books and loss. I asked him if I could share it with all of you and he gave me the go-ahead. Here's an excerpt:
Before Mark's passing I kept kicking around the idea of trying to help network others like The Guys who are sort of lost out there on their own looking for others to accept them for who they are. It's not an easy life, being a geek. It's also not easy or fun to be a geek on your own, having so much you want to talk about and share with others who are like minded. Even to have someone take the time to listen to a geek explain why whatever they geek out about matters to them can be an emotional experience that could be similar to baring your soul to someone. For that brief moment in time that person is willing to rip their button down shirt open to reveal the Superman S shield buried underneath, giving you a glimpse of the real person inside.
I know there were many times when Mark, Matt, Kevin, Jeremy or I would share with the rest of The Guys why something affects us one way or another. It was usually a bonding experience that would make the rest of us seek out whatever it was so we could understand or share in their passion. I couldn't tell you the amount of titles that one or all of The Guys have introduced me to. I just know my geekdom grew exponentially through them and when I look at the graphic novels or comics or dvds I've collected over the years, each of them is part of it. I realized how much Mark's influence was truly a part of my collections and life the other day when I took a moment to truly look at my collections. His presence is still here even though he's gone. But when I look to dvds like Smallville, Supernatural, and especially Chuck, I feel like he's still sitting there with me watching them and sharing in what made us love these shows so much. The same thing happens when I look at Superman Birthright and especially The New Frontier, a book that I read from cover to cover in one night or insomnia. It hit me hard to read a book that completely understood how incredible and important these heroes are to me. Plus, with the way that The Guys tended to try and watch out for each other, I think it hit me that New Frontier proved their friendship was something on par with superheroes helping to show people they've got their back and you aren't alone out there.
Go read the two posts by Shawn HERE and HERE. Those are very fine tributes, Shawn. Mark will be missed.
(P.S.: Ned and I and the Staff sometimes forget what a "safe haven" Comix Connection is for like-minded individuals to feel comfortable in and to strike up friendships with other fans during visits. We were touched by Shawn's words and hope that you all realize you can come here and make similar "connections" with each other. "We accept you, one of us." Thanks for reminding us of this Shawn.)