Rory Root, a legend among comics retailers, a goodwill ambassador to the non-comics inclined, and a tireless promoter of the artform -- the literature -- that he loved, passed away this week.
I was going to say this in a comment at Mike's blog, but since I recently seem to have acquired a reputation as a retailer hater, I thought it might be best to share my thoughts here.
Comic Relief was my comics shop of choice during my Bay Area years. I probably spent more on comics in Rory's shop during my four years at Cal than on all the comics I've bought ever since. Hell, I probably spent more time in Rory's shop than in any other single structure in Berkeley, including any given classroom. Comic Relief is where I met such luminaries as Grant Morrison, and Neil Gaiman, and Dave McKean -- first through their works, and then in person. Comic Relief isn't where I first fell in love with comics, but it's where my relationship with and respect for comics and their creators blossomed.
Most of my expectations of comic books and comic retailers were formed there, as were most of my best comics-related memories. It's the second best comics shop I've ever been to (a friend of mine runs the first). I didn't know Rory very well, other than by sight, and by reputation, and by his imprint on that hugely important and influential establishment, but this is a shock and a sadness nonetheless.
My deepest sympathies to his friends and family.