The world is a bit sadder of a place today. Barry Blair passed away 1/3/10 and I just found out via http://www.bleedingcool.com/2010/01/03/founder-of-aircel-comics-barry-blair-dies/ .. he had a brain aneurysm at age 52.
In 1994, I was a 16 year old girl who drew a lot of penguins. I came to San Diego ComiCon with a single laminated copy of a comic book I drew called Peacekeepers, which had pages handcolored with colored pencils. 200 of these books were produced.
I took the book around to publishers big and small, to get advice on improving my art, and to hopefully find someone who would want to publish my work for wider distribution. Looking back, I’m rather suprised anyone took me seriously at all.
My favorite moment from ComiCon was when I went to the Elfquest booth, and Barry Blair sat there and read the whole thing. He laughed at the silly parts. Then he told me I needed to self-publish it. The idea hadn’t crossed my mind at all, and he talked me into it.
The next year I took my life savings, sent it to Brenner Printing, and had 3,000 copies of Tori Do printed, through my comic book company Penguin Palace.
RIP Barry. My life would be very different today if I’d never met you.