I was sorry to hear about the death of Craig Miller who had been associated with Cerebus as far back as THE CEREBUS COMPANION and was one of the exhibitors at the Spirits of Independence stops in Austin Texas (19 Feb 95) with his funny animal title, RENEGADE RABBIT -- and its "Day of Greatness, Age of Consent" parody cover. My correspondence with Craig was voluminous for a while there -- I have an inch-thick stack of faxes on the book shelf in the office -- through the short, multi-year history of FOLLOWING CEREBUS.
His publications were always interesting. I had (and have) zero interest in David Lynch and his movies and TV shows but I always read WRAPPED IN PLASTIC from cover to cover when it came in and always found something edifying in its pages.
Craig seemed to, finally, fight his way out of an extended period of writer's block with his article on The Three Davids -- Lynch, Foster Wallace and myself -- which appeared in the last issue of FOLLOWING CEREBUS. Personally, I couldn't think of a more unlikely trio but, hey, anything which would trigger Craig's former unending, effortless stream of insightful commentary was more than "fine by me". I encouraged him to write more on the subject -- to make it a recurring FOLLOWING CEREBUS motif -- if that was where he saw productivity "daylight".
That was really the last I heard from him as FOLLOWING CEREBUS co-publisher.
He used to sell the CEREBUS trade paperbacks on the Win-Mill website, relaying "once in a blue moon" orders by fax. As happens a lot with me, suddenly his fax number would no longer receive. In our last phone conversation a few weeks back, it took several visits by technicians to get it up and running again (the latest bunch having to undo everything the previous bunch had done) (again, not atypical of my situation). I had been trying to contact him to tell him that I could no longer afford the time and money to mail out the (usually) individual books (usually) at inflated international rates.
The last (five? six?) years of his life, he had been engaged in a never-ending battle for shared custody of Jennifer with his ex-wife who kept having him charged with the same crimes the child-custody people and the courts kept finding him innocent of. Every few months he'd report that he'd been cleared of the latest charges and his legal travails were finally behind him. I always hoped that would be the case but (as I suspected) it never was.
He would send cheques every once in a while to cover FOLLOWING CEREBUS royalties and trade paperback sales. I never kept track. I knew he was having to sell his ever-diminishing comics collection to pay his relentless legal fees. Whatever he could sell of FOLLOWING CEREBUS he was more than welcome to keep.
I've just sent a fax to Gene Lane telling his father, who I assume is his executor, (the fax machine indicates it went through: whether he actually GETS it is another matter) that I'd like to assign all my own rights to FOLLOWING CEREBUS to Craig's estate and to, hopefully, get an advance from someone on a COLLECTED FOLLOWING CEREBUS that might clear up some outstanding child custody legal bills or -- preferably -- that the rights and any revenues be kept in trust for Jennifer (jointly with John Thorne, Craig's Win-Mill co-publisher) until she reaches her age of majority.
(Just BTW, my own pre-arranged funeral documents went up in smoke at Sandeep's place. I kept meaning to mention this. It would be helpful if someone, on hearing of my death, could contact the Waterloo Regional Police at 1-888-420-1777 and have them contact Schreiter-Sandrock Funeral Home, 51 Benton Street 519-742-4481 and tell them that I prearranged my funeral in January, 2004 -- right after I finished CEREBUS -- I also have a funeral plot that I purchased at Woodland Cemetery, 119 Arlington Blvd. around the same time. I never got around to buying the gravestone -- I'm only "zoned" for one that lies flush with the ground, just "name and years". There are no "family and friends" in my case, so it would save some confusion if someone could make note of this. Thanks!)
Like the last ten years of CEREBUS, though, it was always extremely gratifying to get the new issue in, to read it and say, "This is good work. Craig and I did good work." Or, with the last one, "Craig did a great job on this." That's really ALL that could be said but, as with MINDS, GUYS, RICK'S STORY, GOING HOME, FORM & VOID, LATTER DAYS, THE LAST DAY, JUDENHASS, glamourpuss, CEREBUS ARCHIVE and CEREBUS TV, it was enough.
It HAD to be.
Fare thee well, Craig. It was a pleasure having you along for a few years on this long, weird ride while it lasted. I'll always consider our 2004 to 2010 correspondence a centerpiece of the CEREBUS ARCHIVE correspondence files and I'm sure future generations -- way, way, WAY off in the future -- will agree.