Robot 6

Static co-writer Robert L. Washington III passes away

Writer Robert L. Washington III, who with Dwayne McDuffie and John Paul Leon introduced Static in 1993, passed away Wednesday at Mount Sinai Queens in New York City after suffering multiple heart attacks. He was 47.

Although perhaps best known for co-writing the first 18 issue of Static, he also worked on Shadow Cabinet for Milestone Comics, Extreme Justice for DC Comics, Timewalker for Valiant, and Ninjak for Acclaim.

However, Washington, like many other creators, had difficulty finding work in the industry following the mid-1990s comics implosion. He’d lately been employed sporadically by a call center and catalog warehouse.

Washington had been homeless a few times, and had received assistance from The Hero Initiative with rent and food, which he recounted in his final work — a one-page autobiographical strip he contributed to Hero Comics 2012 (below), the charity comic released last week to help raise money for the group.

 

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32 Comments

That’s….so incredibly sad. :(

Damn…isn’t anyone else tired of hearing about “creators” living in abject poverty? So glad I live in a Country with adequate social supports.

And worse still, he won’t be the last either. This economy sucks… and to be a Black man in a predominantly Whilte field… it’s GONNA be worse.

But now he doesn’t have to suffer anymore. Rest In Peace Robert. You’ve earned it.

What’s even worse is he was posting right here on these boards only a few months ago.

Rest in Peace.

sad that he passed away only being in his forties. not to mention that he has become another comic creator who is forced to try and get help to live.

That is very sad. Rest in peace.

industry really isn’t kind on a lot of people.

Yeah, this is terribly depressing. Rest in peace.

One thing though: what in the world was the “1997 comics implosion?”. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of any such thing happening in 1997. You could talk about the crash of 94-95, I guess, but I have no idea what Kevin is referring to here.

Sorry to hear this. That original Static series was great.

We all need help to live.

I’m lucky because I’m still in college and I rely on my parents to pay for the food and gas and mortgage, and my brother and I are on student aid because my father barely provides for us. But the two of them are pretty much divorced and the most I make without them is 200-300 dollars a month. It’s enough for my hobbies, but, I don’t know what I’d do if either of them suddenly stopped earning money and the idea really does scare me.

Paying bills and a mortgage, I can’t comprehend what that’s like and the fact that it’s a part of daily life just means I’m an immature 21 year old.

I know it sounds like “what’s he complaining about, he’s got a roof over his head and food and money to waste” but it really does scare me when I’m going to be the only one who’s going to be taking care of me, and I don’t know what I’ll do when that time comes.

Rest In Peace, Mr. Washington.

…and I didn’t even pay my condolences. I’m sorry.

So sad – Static was a great contribution to the industry. His fate is what I had always feared if I had decided to become a comic book creator. :(

RIP

Rest In Peace!

I hope they honor both Washington and McDuffie by taken proper care of their character Static. Give him a new series with a top level creative team! Through Static the memory of the original creators can live on.

Was actually just re-reading my old Static books yesterday and reminding myself of how good that title was. Rest in Peace, Robert; you’re truly an inspiration.

Kevin Kennedy

June 7, 2012 at 10:24 am

I don’t like to see anyone down and out, it’s a hard go. But to see someone who’s work I’ve read on and off over the years pass on young, and having had such a struggle getting by, it’s hateful. Robert deserved better as do the many who find themselves in a similar situation both comic creators down on their luck and anyone who’s down and out. There’s no simple solution to homelessness and poverty, I wish I had the answers for this.

If any of Robert’s family or good friends see this post, you have my deepest condolences.

That’s sucks I remember him, he was one of my forgotten heroes. I remember Static and Milestone as a voice as a black comic creator in this comics field. Didn’t he get any thing when DC bought Milestone or from The Static Shock cartoon? Robert Washington III may you rest in piece man.

Two Bed Two Bath

June 7, 2012 at 10:31 am

Such a talented writer.

Such a goddamn shame.

Rest in peace.

Dwayne McDuffie last year and now another static creator gone. RIP. :’(

This is really sad. An example of how we need to value the arts more in this country, and how publishers like “the big 2″ need to take care of the creators that make them their money. Somebody asked earlier if Robert saw any royalties from the static shock cartoon, unfortunately, I very much doubt it. It’s about time the big 2 started treating their creators like human beings, rather than just an opportunity to make a buck. If static was popular enough to have his own cartoon, you would think there would be a little room in there for the creator to see a bit of royalties on it. It breaks my heart to hear of someone who deserves to be honored for his. Contribution was struggling through the last years of his life. With Jim Lee as co-publisher of DC, you’d think he’d remember what it’s like to be screwed out of the rights to your own creation from back in the marvel/image split, and take an active role in changing the greedy an opportunistic way in whichDC handles their creators rights.
RIP Robert L Washington III…

This is really sad too hear, RIP.

Len Strazewski

June 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm

This is incredibly said news. I have seen way too many gifted writers and artists of my generation in comics falling on hard times. It’s particularly sad because editors and publishers always told us that “you got to love comics” to be part of the industry. Sure, but comics industry has to love you back– and it doesn’t.

Len Strazewski
Associate Provost and Associate Professor of Journalism
Columbia College Chicago

This is very sad news. RIP.

My God, that is upsetting. May be rest in peace.

It is very sad news. RIP, Robert, you deserved so much more in life.

Static is one of those titles one wouldn’t expect a middle-aged mixed race (Asian/Caucasian) woman to like, but I did, and my teenage son became a big fan some years later. We both think DC could have done much better with Static than they did.

Sad news. His and McDuffie’s passing are especially tough considering how important a black universe was to me as a young kid who didn’t have many options for well produced black comics.

Can we keep calling it an industry if it doesn’t provide a living or reasonable health care to very many people?

I went to school with Robert in the Detroit area from 5th to 8th grade. Like many of Robert’s school friends, and sadly, his family, I had not been in touch with him for many years. But when I heard about his death and learned more about his financial and family situation, I immediately became concerned that his remains might end up on Hart Island. The island is New York City’s location for indigent burials. The dead here are buried in pine coffins, stacked in unmarked trenches, by Riker’s Island inmates. There are no services or ceremonies.

A small group of Robert’s former classmates and colleagues have joined forces to ensure this doesn’t happen. We’ve been in touch with the city medical examiner’s office and after some serious sleuthing made contact with one of his relatives. And we’ve started raising funds to pay for a modest funeral.

If you knew Robert, were a fan of his work or just are interested in lending a hand, here’s how you can help.

The Hero Initiative — a not-for-profit, 503(c) charitable organization that helps comic book creators in need — has agreed to act as our vehicle for contributing to Robert’s funeral arrangements.

The money we contribute goes to the Hero Initiative, but can be directed toward specific purposes, in this case Robert’s funeral. Any money over and above the cost of the funeral will be applied in Robert’s name toward helping other comic book creators make ends meet.

To donate, go to the Hero Initiative home page (www.heroinitiative.org) and click the yellow “Donate” button at the top right. This will take you to PayPal, where you can login and make your contribution.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you click the button that says “add special instructions to seller” and type “Robert Washington” before you submit your donation.

Whether you contribute or not, thanks for taking time to read about our effort to honor Robert.

Lorie Washington

June 18, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I am one of Robert lee Washington sisters.We have not been in touch with Robert for a very long time, although by his choice. We want to thank everyone for your remarks, concerns and feelings. Most of all we appreciate his work he left for all of us to remember. We are trying to get to New York and get our brother (bring him home) for a proper burial and appreciate all donations in honor of his memory. We are a struggling family but love our brother deeply and want to lay Robert to rest in a proper manner.

Thank you very much.

To donate, go to the Hero Initiative home page http://www.heroinitiative.org and click the yellow “Donate” button at the top right. This will take you to PayPal, where you can login and make your contribution. (you do not need a PayPal account)

IMPORTANT: Make sure you click the button that says “add special instructions to seller” and type “Robert Washington” before you submit your donation.

Hi, all, thanks to the efforts of many generous fans and friends — and loads of support from the Hero Initiative — Robert Washington’s remains will now get a proper burial. If you would like to attend his memorial service, it is planned for 7pm Monday, June 25th at the Ross-Roden Funeral Home, 725 E. Gun Hill Road, Bronx, New York 10467.

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