John P., Dylan Williams, and Tom Neely at TCAF, May 2011. (Photo by Julia Wertz)
I like this picture of Dylan because he's hiding, but if you look close, you can still see that happy glimmer in his eye.
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In the fog of my memory, I believe I met Dylan Williams for the first time at a café in Columbus, Ohio, after the original SPACE convention, in 2000. The thing that struck me immediately upon meeting him, was that we could talk at length about both Metallica and Frank Sinatra. Dylan was one of those people who I instantly fell in love with. I'm a pretty retiring person, especially around people I don't know well, but sometimes I meet someone and there is an instant camaraderie, an instant kinship and comfort level, and such was the case with Dylan. Right off the bat we could joke around, kid each other, and be ourselves in each other's presence.
As is common in the comics world, I saw Dylan irregularly, at comics shows around the country, but each time we met it was like we had never left each others' sight. Perhaps that's how it was for many of Dylan's friends. He was one of the most genuine people I've ever met. It was a joy to talk to him, to just be around him.
Dylan became one of my go-to guys when I needed to talk serious about comics, not just the art of it, but the business of it. Dylan was an entrepreneur, he was straight up about it, but he came from a place where that didn't mean you had a license to fuck people over. Dylan always tried to do the right thing, and he wasn't shy about saying out loud what he thought the right thing was. Still, he never put someone else down for having different beliefs or approaches. He knew what was right for him, and he stuck with it.
Dylan was sick on and off for a long time, but I never heard him complain about it. Having been through my own serious illnesses, we could talk openly about this aspect of life. Let me say, Dylan was an aware person. He had his priorities in line, and he had an openhearted approach to this human existence.
The last time I talked to Dylan, about a week before his passing, he talked about how optimistic he was about the future, about the comics he wanted to put out, how he wished he could be at SF Zine Fest that weekend. And he asked about my health, how I was doing, if I'd been feeling well lately. He asked me this from his hospital bed.
We probably will never know the full impact Dylan had on the world, because he did a lot things for people, for all of us, that he never accepted credit for. He was a real role model. There is no one that I have more admiration for than Dylan Williams. Thanks, man... I truly love you.
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PS: Portland's Floating World Comics is organizing an online auction raising funds to help offset the medical costs of Dylan's illness. So far they've raised over $3000! Please help if you can. My contribution is shown below. For information, or to bid on this piece, please click this link to go to the Divine Invasion site, and then click through that image to go directly to the eBay page.
Double-click to enlarge.
View the other contributions here.