I found out Ryan Bodenheim died last Tuesday and spent most of that day, and the ones that followed, talking with my wife about what had happened. I was, to put it mildly, upset and quite angry about it.
I care very much about the creators I work with. For me, the collaborative process is intense and demanding in a way that a lot of people don’t understand. It’s hard to explain, but the short version is: I expect a lot of my partners, and they expect a lot of me. I feel personally responsible for the success and failure of a book and, often as a result, their individual success and growth as an artist. The ability to make things -- to create -- changed my life for the better and so I understand how important it is for the people I work with to feel enabled, encouraged, and to have authorship on our projects.
Ryan made the work better. It’s why I loved working with him. I think that’s the highest compliment you can pay a creative partner, and over the past decade it was such a joy to watch him also grow as an artist.
He got so good. And now it’s just devastating that he’s gone.
We fought a lot because we both had strong opinions about where a story should go. We laughed a lot because we had the same sense of humor. We were both perfectionist and we constantly screwed ourselves because of it. Honestly, we were too much alike for it to ever work perfectly, but too much alike not to want to work together. We even had the same birthday.
I really loved watching him draw. I loved how much he loved making art, and I’m so sad that there won’t be any more.
I’m going to miss him very much.
According to the obituary, Ryan’s family has asked that donations be made to the Hero Initiative in his name. They’re a great organization run by good people that help comic creators in need and I’m sure that now, more than ever, they could use our help. So if you can, consider donating.
Condolences to you and his family.
That’s very well said, Jonathan. It’s never easy to write this type of a letter. I’m sorry to all the families and friends who lost Ryan.