RIP: Bhob Stewart

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Pioneering comics journalist Bhob Stewart has passed away after a lingering illness. His website is here, but tributes are piling up on his FB page.

Stewart was one of the very first “fan” writers who was a writer first and a fan later, and was hugely influential in helping many people in the industry. He also invented Wacky Packages and coined the term underground comics, so his mark will never fade.

I encountered Stewart’s writing in early issues of The Comics Journal, and his lucid, clear style, laced with knowledge, greatly influenced me…so include me in the list of people Stewart helped, whether knowingly or not.

There are many many tributes to him up now, including one from Batton Lash

Sad to hear of the passing of Bhob Stewart. One of the first comics “pundits” (for lack of a better term) I ever read. Among his many astute articles on comics, my favorite might be Stewart’s essay on the work of Howard Nostrand and his subsequent interview with the artist (if you can find Graphic Story Magazine from 1974, check it out. It’s a classic!). Among his many contributions to pop culture, Stewart created Wacky Packages for Topps and is credited for coining the term “underground comics.” He’ll be missed. Spa fon, Bhob!


And this from Larry Hama on FB:

Bhob Stewart has passed away after a long battle with emphysema. He was my mentor @ Castle of Frankenstein magazine, my collaborator on a strip for Gothic Blimpworks, and got me into a groundbreaking show of underground comics at the Corcoran Gallery of Modern Art in Wasington DC back in the sixties. Iwas just a punk kid, but he introduced me to the “good stuff,” opened doors, and encouraged me at every turn. I owe him a lot, and I never thanked him enough. I’m thinking of all the stupid ways I spent wasting my time when I could have been on the phone with him, and I am ashamed and sad. God speed, Bhob.


There will be a private service for Stewart later this week.

Comments

  1. Like Larry, I’m sorry I never phoned Bhob just to say hello and chat. Last time I spoke with him was the 90s, when he was working at DC, but we were best friends in the 60s, in the Lower East Side. It was Bhob who introduced me to Paul Krassner, and also to weird Calvin Thomas Beck, publisher of Castle of Frankenstein, along with his even weirder mother. Even though I haven’t seen him for decades, I miss him, and I keep hearing in my mind his soft voice with its faint Southern accent.

  2. Richard Caldwell says:

    The first time I recall seeing his name in credits was coloring a Flaming Carrot story, but he also wrote text for Heavy Metal Magazine- a function I myself am doing now. I really look to the past to know where the guidelines are (in the biz as well as life in general), and Bhob really set a huge margin for passionate excellence in all that he did. He got work done while avoiding controversy, something we all could learn from.

  3. Andrew Porter says:

    I first met Bhob was I was very young, in the 1960s, and he was already a major fan cartoonist and Big Name SF Fan. In the 1970s he did a column, “Filmedia,” for my ALGOL/STARSHIP, which was by turns fascinating, witty and erudite. I still have some of the cartoons he did for Pat & Dick Lupoff’s XERO.

    The trouble with growing older is that all our heros are also growing older along with us. I will really miss him.

  4. george says:

    His writing about EC (the comics he credited with keeping him interested in the field after childhood) is definitely worth seeking out.

  5. george says:

    http://www.tcj.com/there-are-good-guys-and-bad-guys-by-bhob-stewart/

    I’ve never forgotten Stewart’s Comics Journal piece on Wally Wood, written shortly after Wood’s death in ’81.

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