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December 3, 2009

I am loath to belabor this topic, but it is just so much a part of our lives right now that I would be remiss in not writing about it.

After we cleaned out Bill’s room and talked to a proprietor of a comic book store, my husband and I convinced my mother not to sell Bill’s comic book collection to a reseller.   We talked her into (it actually didn’t take too much talking) letting us take his comics and original artwork home with us so that we could research the value, sell them at their highest prices, and donate the money to charity.  We told my mom that it was her choice: we would respect her decision if she just wanted to unload everything at once and be done with it, but we felt it was important to take the time it would require to properly honor Bill’s artistic legacy.  She quickly agreed to allow us to take on the task.

We wrapped the boxes of dusty comics in plastic and mom did her level best to plow through the stacks of paperwork and pull out the art.  All this filled up our trunk and backseat of the car, and our poor doggie had to sit on hubby’s lap when we picked her up from being boarded on our way back home.  I told my husband I didn’t want any of it in my home.  It had to go into the storage locker until I was ready to face it.  The amount of time it will take to rate, price, and list each individual comic book is going to be massive.  And Bill’s belongings were still too painful for me to be around; too overwhelming.

While I have been largely ignoring the whole subject for the last 4 days, my husband has been fabulous.  He is amazing when it comes to research and making contacts in the business world, and by his own admission he has become obsessed by the mystery of this man none of us had ever met as well as his work.  Because Bill was such a private person and left no one else behind, because there was no story of his life besides the books and art, we have been struggling to find out who he really was.  My husband says he will not stop until he gets “to the bottom of this.”  Hubby has been communicating with the chief editor at Marvel comics and the attroney at DC Comics.  He has spoken to the union for comic book writers.  He is in touch with the dozen or so independent comic book producers in order to learn whatever he can about Bill and empower us to make the most of his legacy.

None of us knew anything about the world of comic book collecting or comic book art.  This experience has been an immersion in these worlds.  We still have little idea what we are doing.  I, for one, never had any intention of knowing of these realms.  But we want to try.  We want to learn about Bill, his passions, and honor his efforts.  People didn’t even know he had died.  I updated his Wikipedia page yesterday with his date of death.  It is amazing that there are people out there who know his work and who actually care.  This will be a long, arduous process, but we hope to find closure for ourselves, for our mother, and for Bill’s memory.  Although I don’t believe in spirits watching the living, a part of me hopes Bill is witnessing our efforts and that he is pleased.  We can only hope that his legacy is greater than the tragic last days of his life.

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