Dear Uncle Rick,
Your fans know you as Rich, your wife as Richard, my mom as Rick or pain in the ass. I know that we weren’t close but I was closer to you than I was any of my many aunts and uncles. Perhaps it is because we are both six and a half feet. Perhaps it is because we are critical thinkers. Who am I kidding? It is because my mom thought the world of you and only said good things about you. We had a lot more in common that you realized. In reality we were closer than either of us gave credit for. Like a true Buckler, you were humble. You probably didn’t think our email exchanges meant that much to me, and I probably didn’t think our email exchanges meant much to you. We both know the truth and I am sure that we each held each other closer to our hearts than we realized.
I was proud that you were my Uncle. I love my family but it is not easy to be open about it. It’s not like it comes up in conversation how one’s mom or uncle is cool. Comics gave me that opening to brag about family when I wish I could talk about them constantly. “Oh you liked the Fantastic Four movie, did you read the comic? Oh by the way, my Uncle worked on it.” You came up in conversation at least once a week. I am sure people around me are sick of me bragging about my Uncle Rick.
You had a hand in so many great comics that it is crazy. I don’t even need to go to your Wikipedia page to rattle them off and I have never been a comic person. Off the top of my head, Fantastic Four, Black Panther, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Eerie/Creepy with my dad, and everyone’s favorite: Deathlok. That is just what I can rattle off the top of my head without checking. You worked with the greats: Ditko, Sinnot, and you were mentored by Jack Kirby. Your peers were all times greats because you were an all time great. My personal favorite thing about you is that your art was turned into a stamp by the United States Postal Service. It is so easy to get 15 minutes of fame this day and age but your 15 minutes are an infinity because your legacy cannot be ignored.
My favorite memories with anyone, were going to San Diego Comic Con when you were there and we would hang out together. I know how much you were suffering the past few months and it pained me. Every time the phone would ring from New York, my heart would drop because it never got better. You said that you had good days but I know how strong you tried to stay for your family. I know that you didn’t want to be sick and would rather be drawing or at a convention than in bed. You are a fighter and while cancer may have won, I know that it rued the day that it ever messed with you because you gave it the fight of your life. Hopefully you scared it away for the rest of us.
Even taking away all of your comic achievements I would still think the world of you. Your comic achievements just make it easier to bring up how awesome my family is.
You were the reason why my parents met for crying out loud.
We come from a great family full of great people. You were no exception. I mean you were the reason that my parents met.
Have fun in heaven Uncle Rick and buy Jack Kirby and my father a beer for me while you are up there. Meanwhile, here is to you: my great Uncle Rick.
Your favorite nephew