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R.I.P. Steve Bates
G-Man
post Dec 3 2010, 08:45 PM
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Before I got started on what ended up being a very busy day today I received a phone call from Frank Raynor....about 11:00 a.m this morning...and despite what should have been a very good day....and one that that still turned out rather nice....I couldn't shake the after effects of what Frank told me.

A good friend of ours...who we haven't seen for about four years since he moved to Baltimore died in his sleep last night.

His name was Steve Bates. I had known him for about nine years, Frank knew him longer. Steve used to manage the Bookery Fantasy comic shop in Fairborn Ohio for years doing pretty much most of the same stuff that I did at Main Street Comics and Games when I did the same for Scott Riley. Steve was a great guy, used to write a very fun weekly column about the joys of collecting comics... and he was a fellow comic creator...he wrote the comic The Covenant with two other local artists (Marvin Bean and Justin Wasson)...and I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of this book....two actually. (I now plan to make sure Frank gets my extra copy) But never got a chance to have him sign it for me.

Right before the book went to print, Steve and his family moved to Baltimore. He had taken a job working for Diamond and writing promo spots for their catalog. The first year after moving to Baltimore Steve was supposed to appear at Gem City Comic Con and sign copies of the book...but he had to cancel at the last minute due to the fact the show conflicted with his daughter Maddie's birthday party ( I believe that was the reason...it could have been some kind of school activity Maddie was involved with.)

Steve always put his family first. And they thought the world of him. His wife was a nurse and worked a lot of long hours so Steve could work at the Bookery staying close to his very first love....comics.

Steve was known by more than a few members of the Comic Related family....besides Frank and I he was a good friend of Chris Metzger's, and Chris was one of his favorite customers. Steve was also one of the biggest fans of the art Chris was always bringing into the shop. Steve was sure that Chris was "going to make it big one day" and would be very proud of the attention Chris is getting due to his art here recently. Kevin Adkins another member of the CR family, a member of Twilight Star Studios and a creative partner of Ron Foriter's used to work at the Bookery as well. Steve was Kevin's boss...but he was more than a boss...he was a good friend of Kevin's as well. Kevin Hicks also knew Steve very well and knew him for a number of years. I think that Hicks once worked at the Bookery with Steve as well.

Steve was also good friends with artist Kyle Hotz who worked at Marvel and actually drew the Incredible Hulk during the time Paul Jenkins was writing the book. Kyle is from the Fairborn Ohio area and Steve actually managed to get Kyle at the store one year for Free Comic Book Day.

Steve was a huge supporter of my Jack the Rabbit comic when I attempted to launch it ten years ago.

He was a real class act.

And this morning my best friend told me that Steve had died in his sleep from the results of undiagnosed cancer.

He was younger than me.

R.I.P.

Steve Bates....you will be missed.

This post has been edited by G-Man: Dec 4 2010, 07:24 AM


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G-Man
post Dec 4 2010, 10:04 AM
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My condolences and deepest sympathy. It's always hard when you lose a friend, hopefully he passed peacefully and dreams a grand adventure that true legends are made of.-Gary Church: Twilight Star Studios


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G-Man
post Dec 4 2010, 10:06 AM
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Oh, man, this is awful news. Steve was such a nice, supportive guy. I sent him an advance copy of "The Legacy" last year, and he liked it enough to buy one for his brother-in-law as a birthday present.

My thoughts are with his family.

Andrew McGinn
Springfield News-Sun
Writer of the Legacy Graphic Novel


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Chad Lambert
post Dec 4 2010, 10:46 AM
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My heart sunk when I read this. As I was waiting for the page to load, I was hoping you meant he was leaving Diamond.

Steve was close to another CR family member: me. He actually helped me start my career, having me in for a signing at the Bookery the weekend Possum At Large #1 came out in 2004. A year later, in his famous column "I Think I Can Manage", he started one with the sentence "Chad Lambert is the smartest guy in comics". I'm not, by the way. But he was making a point about self-marketing and how to target a product.

It launched my career. It must have, because people started suing me shortly after. smile.gif

The point is, this guy loved comics - even crappy ones like I made - more than anyone I've ever known. It's going to take me some time to let it sink in, but you better believe Lost Grooves, my new book from Twilight Star next year, will be dedicated to him.

Bill - if there is a visitation of any kind in Fairborn, please post it here or let me know. Also let us know if you hear anything about donations for a funeral or for his family.

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G-Man
post Dec 4 2010, 11:05 AM
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Chad-

I did not know you knew Steve...and thanks for sharing your story. It just goes to show what type of guy Steve Bates was. I am glad he was there for you back then. And when I was writing the memorial piece I couldn't for the life of me remember the name of the column he wrote.

"I Think I Can Manage" was a great column and was the inspiration to me when I came up with the idea for the "Life In Four Colors" column I used to post here at Comic Related. Steve and I used to share stories about how local retailers....back when comics could be bought on spinner racks at local grocery stores...used to help kids get into comics.

If you have a link to any of those old columns please post them...I couldn't find them. I forgot the website he used to write those for and if they are available I would like to start running them here a little at a time.....especially the one he wrote about you..that would really be cool.

I love the idea of dedicating Lost Grooves to Steve.

Frank and I are staying in contact with the guys at the Bookery and if a service of any kind is planned I will make sure to keep you informed.

This post has been edited by G-Man: Dec 4 2010, 11:13 AM


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Ron Fortier
post Dec 4 2010, 11:06 AM
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Bill, that is perhaps the most endearing obituary I've ever read. I never knew this gentlemen, but reading your words was my introduction. He had to be a wonderful human being to have touched all of you here so much. And because he made the world a better place, I'm offering my own prayers today
for the eternal repose of his marvelous soul.
Amen
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G-Man
post Dec 4 2010, 11:08 AM
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Thank you, Captain.

The two of you were cut of the same cloth.


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Chad Lambert
post Dec 4 2010, 11:17 AM
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Hey Bill-

Here was Steve's column about target marketing:

http://www.icv2.com/articles/indepth/6048.html

Needless to say, I liked it. smile.gif It was actually the first time anyone had written anything about me. And he meant what he said - he and I talked marketing plans for hours at a time. Well, in between comic talk, of course.

I still can't believe he's gone. I chatted with him a few months ago on Facebook and he was the same old Steve. I used to just miss him every time I went to the Bookery post-2005. Now I'm going to miss him in general.

There is NO QUESTION Lost Grooves will be dedicated to him. He actually proofread and edited 2-3 of the stories that will be in there.

This post has been edited by Chad Lambert: Dec 4 2010, 11:21 AM
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G-Man
post Dec 4 2010, 11:50 AM
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That was a great column! Thank you for posting that!

I am going to start linking to a few more of these now that I have found the doorway to the past.

The first is about Steve Bennett the guy that took over writing a weekly column at ICv2 site once Steve stopped writing for the site and moved to Baltimore.

Steve Bennett is one of the guys who opened Super Fly Comics and Games in Yellow springs and happens to be a good friend to Ron Fortier.

http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/7327.html


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G-Man
post Dec 4 2010, 11:52 AM
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"My Favorite Customer"-Steve Bates
July 20th 2005.

http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/7227.html


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G-Man
post Dec 4 2010, 11:56 AM
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"Only The Good Die Young"

http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/6549.html

Ironically Steve talks about the unexpected death of Bookery employee Sam

March 9th 2005



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G-Man
post Dec 4 2010, 11:58 AM
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Steve's last column....July 27th 2005.

http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/7280.html


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G-Man
post Dec 4 2010, 01:20 PM
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From the Bookery Fantasy web page-




STEVE BATES 1962-2010

Steve was one of the first customers that came to my shop after opening in a tiny location on Wright Avenue. In 1987 he was the first full-time employee I hired. He stayed on here at Bookery for the next 18 years, leaving in 2005 to work for Diamond Comics Distribution in Baltimore. For most of that period, he was the store manager. But to hundreds of people in the Miami Valley, he was the face of Bookery. Most customers assumed he was the owner, which was fine with me. I worked in the background, never good at self-promotion, while Steve loved working with customers, promoting the shop and the comics industry in general, writing press-releases, doing interviews, arranging events like the Star Wars cast signing we had, or putting together the post-9/11 fundraiser. Steve and I worked side by side for about 5,000 days. We traveled together to conventions throughout the Mid-West-- Lexington, Columbus, Indianapolis, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Chicago. I knew Steve several years before I met my wife, and he was at my wedding. I suspect, aside from his family, I probably knew him better than anyone else. In some things, I probably knew him better than he knew himself. And he could likely have said the same about me.

I wasn't a boss-employee kind of guy... especially in those early days. Steve and I were more like business partners as well as friends. We argued (sometimes strongly)... debated policies... tossed ideas back and forth... discussed literature and movies and philosophy and spent a lot of time trying to top each other with jokes. Though Steve was always the master of puns... the worse the pun the better he enjoyed it! But most of all, next to his family of course, Steve loved comics... not in the usual way of a hobbyist or collector or retailer... he loved comics as an art form. To Steve, there was no qualitative difference from a Rembrandt or Picasso to a Joe Kubert or Pete Morisi (two of his favorites). Art was art, and the masters were the masters.

Steve succumbed to cancer in the early hours of December 3rd. He had just turned 48 the week before. He never realized his dream of professionally writing for a comic book title. But he did get to write a lot about comics. Not only did he write press releases and newspaper articles for us, but he penned a number of significant articles for the comics news site ICV2. And his job at Diamond was all about writing in-house promotions and descriptions of new releases.

Nobody's life can be summarized in a few sentences, nor should it be. And Steve's life was bigger and more boisterous, more spontaneous and, I think, more joyful than many out there. The reality is that, in the end, all we can do is recall what we can, and say our good-byes.

-- Tim Cottrill
Owner of Bookery Fantasy.

I guess Steve was a little older than I thought, five years older than me actually, and I always got the impression he was younger than me.

Still...48...much too young.

No plans for any type of memorial at the Bookery as of yet but I will keep everybody posted if I hear of anything.




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G-Man
post Dec 4 2010, 06:27 PM
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I didn't know Steve really at all, I did meet him briefly at C2E2, but
that's about it. That said, its always a terrible loss to our
community when we loose one of our own. I'd like to give him and his
family a moment on our Podcast this week if you and Frank feel its
appropriate (you guys knew him much better than any of us and I
wouldn't want to step on your toes if you're planning anything for
Comic Related or anything). If you have any sentiments regarding
Steve, his work, or his life that you'd like us to share with our
audience I'd be glad to find some time do to so.
Terribly sorry for your loss.
-Tony Barry
Co-Owner of Super Fly Comics and Games


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ScottDMSimmons
post Dec 5 2010, 12:10 AM
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Sorry about the loss of your friend, Bill. I never knew Steve but from what you and some others have mentioned, he sounds like he was good guy.

Scott


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G-Man
post Dec 5 2010, 08:22 PM
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Thank you for your kind words, Scott.


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Chad Lambert
post Dec 7 2010, 03:13 PM
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http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/18938.html

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G-Man
post Dec 7 2010, 04:13 PM
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-- The family will see visitors at 1pm, Saturday Dec. 11, at Bloomfield Presbyterian Church, located north of New Concord, OH, at the intersection of Route 209 and state Route 83. Memorial services will begin 2pm. Memorial contributions may be made to the Madylin and Sophia Bates Education Fund at Century National Bank, 1 West Main St., New Concord, OH 43762.


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Chad Lambert
post Dec 8 2010, 12:33 PM
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Steve Bennett pays tribute...

http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/18944.html
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G-Man
post Dec 8 2010, 02:20 PM
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Thanks for posting this Chad.


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