For Nadine, Carrie, and Allie.
Mark Waid suggested we express our condolences over Brian’s passing and tell you what he meant to us. Brian meant far more to me than I could ever express with words, but I’ll try.
I have a mentor program, Bad Boy Studios. Alisande Morales (Ali), Brian’s former assistant is an alumnus.
When I learned Ali was working with Brian, I told him she was excellent; he said Ali was the best thing to come out of Bad Boy Studios, and that’s saying something.
So I told him an Ali story.
Every person from the studio knows the story I’m talking about; I only have to say one word. Phone.
I never told Ali what Brian said. I asked Brian not to say anything to her, I promised Ali I would not share that story with anyone outside of the studio. He asked me not to mention his comment. She had just begun working there; that’s not the thing you tell a newbie.
I don’t break promises to anyone. This wasn’t just anyone. This was Brian.
This was Brian, who spent an hour on the phone with me in the middle of his day. That doesn’t seem like a big deal on the face of it, a DC editor spending an hour on the phone with an artist doing a book for DC.
Except I wasn’t doing a book for DC anymore, I was fired. Losing that book was horrific for me, but I now understand it could have been much worse. I didn’t know then; I’ve only known that I suffered from bipolar depression for a few years.
Looking back, it seems Brian talked to me for an hour as if he knew something about me I didn’t. He said Mike Gold was working to put me back on the book and to have faith. “Having faith” is unquestionably the last thing that I believe when despondent.
I believed Brian.
That night I was able to sleep with no destructive thoughts or dreams. The next day, Mike Gold called with the news I was back on the book. Again I couldn’t sleep, but this time from excitement and happiness.
After being in a bad place for the last few years, I’m in a good place now. I promised myself I would stop writing about painful subjects to protect that good place.
I kept that promise to myself until a former student passed. After writing about him, I pledged to avoid painful topics again. This was an oath made to myself I broke; that could be a lot of therapy hours.
Not telling his family the good Brian did for me was never an option.
I won’t need therapy, like hundreds if not thousands of people; I’ll miss him, but I’ll be fine.
Besides, this wasn’t just anyone I was writing about; this was Brian.
My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fans for your loss.
May Brian rest in peace and power.
Brian Augustyn 1954-2022