Reader Vixx Volis brought to my attention the sad news that Ricky Gurdano, creator of Dumm Comics’ 1930 Nightmare Theatre, has passed away at the very young age of 35. His friend, Gabe Swarr, wrote a touching eulogy on the site.
I remember it was a cold winter night in Santa Monica in 1996. We were walking around the streets very late, bummed out and came to a graveyard. We looked around and we jumped the fence. Cautiously, we walked around to make sure there was no night watchman. We weren’t there to be cool or be scared, we went there to get away. We felt like invaders of a sacred place, but also deeply respectful.
We sat on a cold crypt in the middle of the graveyard and talked for almost 3 hours. We talked until it started to get brighter. We spewed all of our ideas, our ghost stories, our dreams, our loves, and our futures. We wanted the world, and we planned on taking it. In all of that, that’s when I realized that I would never be Ricky. I could never be anything close to what he was. I told him. I told him that I never met anyone like him. He was a level above. It was the way he was wired. He was the perfect combination of insight and passion to drive him to produce some of the strangest ideas, the ones you watch them unfold right in front of you, but you just can’t figure out how or where they came from. Sometimes to piss you off, sometimes to surprise you, but always to amaze and move you. They are things that you want to show everyone around you, because they are just so uncommon. There just aren’t many people like that.
I told him that night that he was a genius.
That’s why this is a true tragedy. He left this world way before he had the chance to really shine. He had so much more to do, to give, so much to show us, so much to teach us, so much more to love, not just comics, but life.