The Real World, by Mike Gold
In an environment where we debate the finer techniques of villains who travel the galaxy to gobble up planets for lunch, the awesome realities of day-to-day life have a habit of intruding upon our vocations and hobbies. Sometimes, the intrusion of reality shatters us completely.
Last Thursday night, 20 year-old Robbie Greenberger lost his struggle with leukemia, surrounded by his family. That’s a real-world horror of incalculable proportion; as we all know – yet, from time to time, must ignore – that sort of thing happens somewhere to somebody every minute of the day. And there’s no villain afoot to acknowledge our outrage.
Robbie was the son of Robert and Debi Greenberger and brother of Kate. For a long time, Bob was an editor and administrator at DC Comics and at Marvel, and an occasional comics writer. He’s also written a ton of Star Trek novels and stories and is editor of the Famous Monsters of Filmland website. Bob is also part of the ComicMix crew: he’s been involved in behind-the-scenes activities for quite some time (you’ll be seeing the fruits of these labors anon), and he’s contributed nearly 50 articles and columns to our site. He’s a real pro.
I remember when Deb went into labor with Robbie. The father-to-be showed up at DC’s offices, ready for work. I asked him if… well, if he was crazy. No, Bob just wanted something to do while waiting, and he had deadline stuff to clear off. He politely asked if it was okay if he were to leave early to join his wife at the hospital.
Unfortunately, I also remember working with Bob on Thursday. I knew the family was at the hospital with Robbie 24/7, doing what they could, giving Robbie comfort. Through Wi-Fi and cell phone, Bob was able to keep busy and meet his deadlines. There’s a strength there that would put a super-hero to shame.
I don’t know how Bob, Debi and Kate will be able to deal with this. There’s a saying that a parent losing his or her child is life’s greatest tragedy; by definition, you really can’t compare. Life has no “11” on the dial; we all max out at “10.”
But the Greenberger family is not alone, not by any stretch of the imagination. Our love and our support will always be with them.
Contributions in Robbie’s memory may be made to The Tommy Fund for Childhood Cancer, Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, 20 York Street, New Haven, CT 06511-3202.
Mike Gold is editor-in-chief of ComicMix, and is proud to have shared many a credits box with Bob Greenberger.