Home Shop Talk Rest in Peace Ed Piskor

Rest in Peace Ed Piskor

Last night I heard via an instagram post, that Ed Piskor took his own life. I never met Ed, but he and Jim Rugg, his co-host on the Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube channel had a big impact on me.

I remember years ago, reading some of Ed’s seminal work Hip Hop Family Tree on-line, I loved the artwork and the idea of the project. I learned a lot about a culture I had no real contact with, other than through MTV videos. Ed’s work had a depth I could only aspire to, he clearly loved the craft of comic book making, and understood it deeply. This was before the days of Cartoonist Kayfabe, I really only knew of him through HHFT, but it was already clear to me, he was an enormous talent.

Years later I’d be re-introduced to Ed (and Jim) through their YouTube channel. For me, it was like food to a starving man. They talked about the cartoonist’s craft, and the history of comic book making, they went into depth on some of the creators that I loved in my teens when I was actively reading and collecting comic books. It brought back to me some of the wonder and amazement of cartooning I had lost. I loved the talks where they’d explore some of the tools of analog comic creation. It was like a nostalgia buzz to me, from when I was working out how to create comics myself. Figuring out the different pens and how to get good lines with a brush (still can’t do that!). Ed and Jim where the ones that introduced me to the Ames Lettering Guide, I never even heard of that thing!

Those videos, put a fire in me to pick up the pen and get back to the drawing table. I’m forever grateful for that, inspiration.

Ed’s passing is such a loss, I was shocked by the news. I knew of the recent controversy around him, and the ensuing internet pile-on that seemed to spring up. I’d hoped after a period of time he’d resurface and address the accusations and move on. Instead he used his suicide note to do that. I’m heartbroken over this, I think of the stories he’s never going to be able to create. I think of the loss to the community of creators he helped lift up, his ability to articulate the heart of comic book creation forever silenced.

From what little I know of Ed, being a cartoonist was his singular life long ambition. He was clear about the cost of this art form, there’s a level of isolation that is required to do this work; it takes time to produce work, particularly if you’re a lone creator building it all on your own. He’d spoken about this reality several times on the CK channel. That kind of isolation, and having to be able to deal with your inner demons in a healthy way. I just wish that he had someone around him to give him the support he needed to see past the dark internet clouds that where surrounding him. I think he probably feared that everything he built was going to collapse and he couldn’t see a path forward. I can understand how terrifying that would be, I just wish he could have seen a way through the controversy.

I didn’t know Ed personally, but he had a big impact on my life none the less; and I’m going to miss him.

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