I just received word that Barry Blair passed away yesterday, January 3, 2010. I don't have details yet. I'm stunned.
Barry was part of "Team Elfquest" for the time he was with us, the better part of a decade. He came to our attention in the late 1970s when he wrote a fan letter to Elfquest and included a drawing of his own elfin characters Hawk and Windblade from his comic "ElfLord." We kept in touch and when Elfquest expanded its line of titles in the early 1990s Barry came to work for us at first as a free-lancer and then on staff until Warp cut back years later. He was prolific and talented and a natural storyteller in words and pictures. We didn't always see eye to eye with regard to certain editorial matters but, more than outweighing that, he was always on time, always professional, and always willing to pitch in when other writers or artists might fall behind.
No doubt others will have a lot to say about the volume and quality of comic book work - some of it controversial - that he produced during his long career. Certainly he pissed off a number of critics. I don't know or care too much about that. I choose to remember and respect the boundless energy and desire to put his characters and worlds onto paper for all to see. Among crowds of talkers, he was a doer.
I found some information at bleedingcool.com:
Submitted by Rich Johnston on January 3, 2010 ”“ 8:46 pm
I’m told by close friends that Barry Blair, founder of Aircel Comics, died today from a brain aneurism.
He complained to friends of an ear ache previously and was on medication as a result. However he felt so ill, he was eventually taken to hospital, but it was too late.
This is sad news. I remember interacting with him a decade or more ago on the Elfquest newsgroup(s) and found him to be a strange, funny fellow. I wasn't a huge fan of his art, but as an internet persona he was great fun.
He's gone far too soon and too young. Rest in peace, Barry.
It's always sad to hear that someone has died.
He had made great art and he was still very young.
I think others have put it aptly. Barry Blair was indeed controversial as an artist, and I will be first to say that not all his work to my taste. But he was clearly dedicated to his craft, and through those who knew him (and one who actually worked with him in his post-Warp years) I have a picture of a person who deserved more time than he received. :(
*lights a candle for Barry*
All thoughts and prayers for his family in this unrtimely passing.
Goodby Barry, we'll miss you.
"Until we meet again in the place where no Shadows fall." Vow between Captain John Sheridan and Ambassador Delenn. Babylon 5.
He had to go much too soon. :( Rest in peace, Barry Blair.
What a heck of a way to start a new year.
I am incredibly saddened by this news. Differences of opinion in terms of artwork or style aside, he was part of the ElfQuest family. ElfMom and ElfPop welcomed him and that matters more than anything else right now.
It hurts that he's gone. It hurts worse that it happened so suddenly from something that could have been beyond medical control, but we'll never know.
My prayers and thoughts go to his family.
Go in peace, Barry Blair, you will be missed and you will be remembered.
I also was not a fan of most of his art, but I adored his lush forest background and firmly believe that he was a fine fellow who left much too early... :( I feel sorry for his family and friends.
To say I'm stunned would be an understatement.
I had the good luck to work with Barry during the tail end of his Elfquest years and then for several years beyond that. He was funny and engaging and inspiring.
I have always enjoyed most of his work...there is so much of it, over so many years, that I can't claim to have seen it all. Many of you only knew him from his work in the pages of Elfquest, but he produced many titles at a rate that most people would find dizzying.
This is a sad day for comics.
Rest in Peace, Bao.
Oh that's incredibly sad! I'm so sorry!
I'm very sorry to hear this.
I have started a virtual candlelight memorial for him, perhaps this might give others a way to send their condolences by lighting candles for him and adding messages for the family in way that might give them some solace.
I can't recall how many times I've re-read these words: "... he was always on time, always professional, and always willing to pitch in when other writers or artists might fall behind.... Among crowds of talkers, he was a doer."
Because, for the last year, it's been my turn to do the same.
It's hard to get excited about federal energy policy, or a new use for aluminum, or networking strategies. Sometimes the words come easily, sometimes not at all. Sometimes I'm up past midnight, writing and researching.
The client doesn't care. As one of my favorite business authors says, do what you said you would do, when you said you would do it, the way you said you would do it. I deliver the same service I would expect from a contractor working on my house.
The greatest thing about freelancing? Being able to give people what they want, to the best of my abilities, without being told that some suit on the other side of the Atlantic doesn't want me to do it that way. I suspect that Mr. Blair understood the satisfaction that comes from unbridled giving.
I can't say anything nice about him AT ALL. I find it horribly ironic that he got into Elfquest by sending in a letter and his art work, I sent in a letter to Wendi with my artwork and barry wrote me back a hateful letter telling me to piss off. I was 16, I was crushed. Way to go climbing the rope and then cutting it off short so no one else can follow.