From Gene Ha, noted comic book artist:
Barry Winston was one of the crew of geeks I hung out with in high school. We played role-playing games at Lowell’s when we should have been going on dates or getting chased by cops. Barry stood out. He was big and muscular with an outgoing personality. He joined the geek world by choice. He loved comics and drawing and RPGs, and hanging out with smaller paler folks who loved the same things.
He never made it big in comics or fantasy illustration, but he definitely had talent. Through the years, he did illustrations for various gaming companies and some graphic design in the South Bend area. In late 2005, Lowell wrote out some comics scripts for Barry to draw samples from. I read the scripts, and they were good fun. I was excited to see what Barry would do with them, but I didn’t want to butt in before he started.
On New Year’s Eve, Barry did a one time gig as a bouncer in a local bar. He was friends with the owner, and not many folks were willing to work on a busy holiday. It was a rough crowd, inevitably a fight broke out. After they’d cleared the bar, they found Barry on the ground. It’s believed he’d suffered a heart attack. The staff attempted CPR, but he was dead by the time the emergency folks came.
I’ll never get to see what he could have done with those scripts. I’ll never see him again at all.
He leaves behind his beloved daughter, Brianna. She’s about 12. Fortunately, she still has her mother and grandmother (Barry’s mom in Hawaii) to care for her .
The circle of friends Barry ran with has come together to help out Brianna. Lowell’s set up an educational trust for her. To try to do my bit, I’ve set up an eBay auction to raise some funds. I’m paying all the listing fees, shipping and handling, and insurance myself. So any cash raised (minus eBay’s Final Value Fee) will go to Brianna’s trust. I won’t be taking any cut of the proceeds. The bids start at 99¢, and there is no reserve. So check it out, you might get a very nice cover shipped to you for a buck!
If you can’t buy it, I’d appreciate it if you let anyone who might be interested know.
Gene has also set things up on his site
so you can PayPal him the funds directly, or send a check to:
Brianna Winston College Plan
c/o Lowell Francis
119 Marquette Avenue
South Bend, IN 46617
I've never met Gene personally, but I've had several conversations with him online and he's a really nice guy. If you've got some spare cash, I'm sure Brianna would appreciate it.