Local Hero

nickHe was a big guy because he had a big heart.  He was larger than life and this past Friday I read he passed away.

If you read or create comics and live in Minnesota or come to visit for the excellent conventions the MCBA  runs you have seen Nick.

Nick was the brains behind so much of the local comics scene but he was also the heart.  He ran the conventions and he also help run the Source, a fantastic comic book store.  Seeing his wide grin was one of the reasons I liked visiting there.  I first met Nick a little over ten years ago when I did my first comic convention.  He made me feel welcome and important even though I only had six poorly drawn mini-comics.  But Nick treated me like a pro, he was excited I was there.  Over the years I was lucky to get to know him better.  When the Uptown Girl movie was finished, he arranged for Fallcon to host the premiere.  He invited the cast and crew to the convention and we held the screening in a huge room to fans and convention guests.  I remember looking out from the stage and seeing his big grin.  That was a good day.

He always went out of his way to make sure the convention guests were happy, were fed and were having a good time.  He was sincere and genuine and wanted the conventions to be a big party.  The man loved comics.  He believed they could bring people together.  He was right.  At the last convention he was a part of I wandered the floor looking at the big comic professionals, guys like me, comic book retailers from all over the country, video game players, cosplayers, LEGO enthusiasts, even a rescue shelter for greyhounds.  Over the years I met a lot of amazing people that I am still friends with.  I think it’s safe to say that without Nick I wouldn’t have gotten Uptown Girl into the hands of readers.  His store carried my books and you can find them on the shelves of the Source, right next to the Umbrella Academy.

Nick made me feel like what I was doing was important.  He made everyone feel that.  He created a community that is so strong that it will carry on without him…but it won’t be the same.  I took Sophie to the Source yesterday to buy some comics.  Normally the Source is robust and loud and charged with an amazing, geeky energy.  Not yesterday.  The store was packed but somber.  I saw people drying their eyes, embracing and comforting each other.  I saw people I’ve known for years because of Nick.

I hope Nick knew how important he was to so many people.  I wish he could have lived forever so he could see the community he united grow.  I could write forever about Nick and what he did.  I have many stories and memories and I am sure we all do.  Fallcon this year won’t be the same.  Not much will.

As far as I know, Nick wasn’t from Krypton or didn’t get bit by a radioactive spider but he was still our hero.

The service will be held on Tuesday, August 12th at:
Cornerstone Bible Church

735 10th St. E., Hastings, MN, 55033



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