Thursday, October 1, 2009

Goodbye, Rusty...

I am having a very hard time writing this...

Rusty Haller, the artist whose work donned the original header of this website and has appeared in numerous postings since the site's inception, died in his sleep last night at the young age of 45.

A good friend, I spoke of Rusty in my March 6, 2009, posting, and featured some of his wonderful art. Rusty was incredibly talented, with a sense of humor that could be silly, suggestive, or oftentimes both, but always funny. He was most proud of his anthropomorphic Man from U.N.C.L.E. meets Hart to Hart comic, Ace and Queenie, which ran in several issues of Furrlough and can be seen on its eponymous website.

The past year has been difficult for Rusty. He was living with his mother when she passed away in her sleep one day. Lack of work lead to his being evicted from his apartment. But it seemed as if his life were on an upswing. He was taken in by a friend in Ohio and had several solid prospects. Just earlier this week, I had referred him to my sister, who had since spoken to Rusty and hired him to design a logo for her.

I cannot help but get angry at Rusty's difficulty in finding work, a situation that filled him with constant worry and I'm sure led to his passing. He was so fucking talented!

I figured the best, most appropriate, way to honor him would with more of his work.

I'll miss him... and the world will miss his art... Goodbye, Rusty...

The original header, which graced the blog for its first two-and-a-half years

This illo of Ace and Queenie captures the passion Rusty had for his creation.

Rusty's wonderfully demented humor can be seen in this panel from sample pages he submitted to Marvel in the hope of getting work on his favorite title, Ren and Stimpy... Sadly, he never did.

Rusty's work appeared in many comic books, including Marvel Comics ALF and DC Comics Loony Tunes. The above example is part of a spread from Issue #14.

Rusty's work was by no means limited to comic books. He recently designed the art for a Teen Titans coloring book and this piece was featured on the cover of the November 2, 2005, issue of New Haven's free newspaper Play.

I'll end on a lighthearted note (I'm sure Rusty would agree).
This page comes from a story in issue #21 of Marvel Comics What The—? and features Rusty's take on She-Hulk's—or in this case, Sheeza Hulk's—problems with dating.


Krista said...

Sorry to hear about your friend. He sure was talented.

Anonymous said...

Well said.

John III said...

My sympathy for you and your friend. We lost a friend a few months ago to a boating accident, he was only 32. Remembering the good times as you have done does help.

Laurie said...

Oh how very sad. We were ready to hire Rusty today to do some illustrations for the new upcoming edition of our book "The UnDutchables." Rusty had done many cartoons for past editions of this book and related projects. We were looking forward to working with him again.

I found it out of character when he did not reply to my email last week, asking if he could do the work. I called his CT number today and it was disconnected. This led me to Google his name and learn the sad news.

He was very talented and never let us down.

I'm glad to see a photo of him, as we had never seen one before; we always communicated by phone and (more recently) email.

Rusty will be greatly missed by us. I'm still in shock as I write this.