Tribute – Budd Lewis

Budd_Lewis_photo

It’s with heavy heart that I compose this blog, and it’s the most important on a personal level I have yet to write since the one offering a tribute to my grandfather.

 

Budd Lewis, a great writer and very gracious human being, passed away in his sleep the previous evening. His writing was a huge inspiration to me, and it had a great positive impact on the direction of my own work as a published author.

 

He is best known among his fans and writers of the horror/sci-fi/fantasy/adventure genres for his memorable work for Warren Comics during the 1970s and into the early ’80s, before the company went belly up after a long and fantastic run. Budd created and scribed the entire “Hunter II” series for Warren’s famed horror anthology mag Eerie. The feature character of this serial, Karas Hunter, provided a rookie hero struggling to fill the shoes of a legendary figure in his dystopian world, the great Demian Hunter, whose name and symbol he took in the midst of a bleak post-apocalyptic Earth, fighting to save a world that nearly tore itself apart. This served as a predecessor to subsequent storylines exploring the same theme in comics, including the tenure of Wally West attempting to fill the shoes of the his uncle, Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash; and Bucky Barnes endeavoring to do his mentor Steve Rogers, a.k.a., Captain America, proud by taking over the mantle of the star-spangled sentinel of liberty.  But Budd did this first, and provided readers with a much more relatable hero than Demian Hunter was.

Eerie_68_coverCover to Warren’s Eerie #68, featuring Hunter II, Budd Lewis’ masterful creation.

 Budd also wrote many fine stories featuring one of Warren’s most popular characters, the time-traveling hero Restin Dane, a.k.a., the Rook (not to be confused with the much newer pulp adventure hero making the rounds under that handle, and published by Pro Se Productions). He also wrote stories for many other Warren features and stand alone stories, the former including Hunter (the original) and Pantha.

TheRook_element34The Rook (the original!), Warren’s most popular hero next to Vampirella, one whom Budd chronicled many adventures of. Budd had much to do with the level of popularity he reached, and he was one of only three Warren characters to receive their own ongoing title.

 His work continued after the end of Warren Comics, albeit in a different medium. He is credited on the Internet Movie Database for his work on The Smurfs (1981); Spiral Zone (1987); Captain N: The Game Master (1989); and The Class of 1999 (1990).

 

This heavy heart of mine extends to Budd on a more personal level, as well. I had made his acquaintance via Facebook a year ago through my friend and fellow author, Chuck Loridans, the creator of the truly awesome website MONSTAAH, which I am proud to be the current curator of with Chuck’s permission and blessings. Chuck is a long-time friend of Budd’s son, and as a result, he had the honor of meeting and knowing the man in person. Budd’s posts were both scathingly poignant and funny, and he showed a great empathy for his fellow human being based on his complimentary statements to me for my blogs and Facebook posts regarding my progressive politics. Just a few short weeks ago, I invited him to join the MONSTAAH Facebook group, and he kindly accepted. Also just a few short weeks ago, he left me some very complimentary words for my review of Legendary’s Godzilla movie on this blog, and I will never forget that, as receiving such praise from him–a writer whose work I’ve admired and been so inspired by for such a long time–meant more to me than I can possibly put into words.

 

I’ve written much about Budd’s work for Warren on my website The Warrenverse, particularly the index I composed for his series “Hunter II.” His oeuvre of work, and all he contributed to both the comic book medium and elsewhere, will not be forgotten. He will be missed. Wherever you are now, Budd, thank you for everything you did, including (and perhaps especially) your kind words; as a fledgling published author, I couldn’t possibly have asked for anything more.

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Author: godofthunder85

I'm a published author and freelance editor who has a strong opinion on just about anything I have an opinion on... which is just about everything! I'm very non-PC, heavily into progressive politics, and stand up for what I believe in no matter what the cost or level of popularity. My published work is in the genres of horror, sci-fi, and pulp adventure. I'm a life-long comic book fan and a researcher of the paranormal.

9 thoughts on “Tribute – Budd Lewis”

  1. I read Budd’s stories for Creepy and Eerie back when I was a student in elementary school, 1975-1976. I was 11 years old, and I was thirsty for knowledge and excitement. Budd’s stories made me woozy…..They were original and unforgettable. He brought a whole new way of thinking to the Warren magazines. I had read about how hard his life was in Oregon, and I had looked for more info online…. I’m sorry to read of his passing, he was a great thinker. Thank you very much for posting this tribute to him, and I will share it on Facebook.

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    1. Thank you for your comment and for doing your part to honor Budd’s memory, Ted. I’m sure he would be proud to know how much his work inspired so many of us, including dedicated fans like you whose lives he touched with his great stories. The man may be gone, but his legacy lives on.

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  2. Thank you for carrying the touch. Budd, like many a mad genius, is uncredited in so much of his work, and to find so many people moved by the few works that were actually labeled as his own is gratifying. As his son, I feel proud to know that a crazy kid from Shreveport Louisiana could make good by doing it his way. Thanks to you and yours. Bobby Black.

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  3. I just ran across your blog. Budd was a very close friend of mine. I first met him when I was 4 and he was 5, almost 6. Our parents were close friends and of course as a result Budd and I became close friends. I know that this blog is about his extreme talent but I think people should also know that he was one of the sweetest, most generous, most loving people I ever knew. His generousity knew no bounds. If you were in trouble and Buddy knew about it, he was there for you, no questions asked. He was my second brother and I loved him dearly. Thank you for posting this tribute to him.

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    1. You’re very welcome, Nancy, and thank you for leaving a comment here in honor of Budd’s memory. I didn’t have the honor of knowing him all my life, as you did, but I’m nevertheless very honored to have known him during the last year of his life. The kind and supportive words he left for me on Facebook, my Warrenverse website’s guest book, and my blog were greatly appreciated and massively inspiring. It was such a major thrill and honor to receive his notice for my own writing! And what an immense honor it was when he accepted my invitation to join my MONSTAAH discussion group on Facebook! It was clearly evident to me what a kind and generous person he was despite only knowing him personally for such a brief time. It’s no surprise to me that he became like a second brother to someone who was his friend for virtually all of their lives. This tribute was the very least I could do for him, as he deserved to receive much more recognition than he did for the inspiration his work provided for so many writers who were lucky enough to have read his stories. Every time a write a story in the fiction genres that Budd and I both loved, you will find a bit of him in there. Because of his published work the degree it inspired others, he will live forever.

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  4. Just saw your blog… and wanted to thank you for honoring Bud. His writing had a profound effect on me as a kid… way back in Ireland in the 60’s & 70’s. Especially his writing for Apocalypse: The Plague with art by Jose Ortiz (who passed away recently). I have often shared his storytelling with my family to show them the beauty in this writing. In recognizing Bud with tributes like this, his unique style of writing will live long and inspire future generations. Chris.

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    1. You’re very welcome, Christopher, and thank you for reading and leaving this comment! It’s always nice to connect with other fans who were touched and inspired by Budd’s work. I too really loved his writing on “The Apocalypse” for EERIE. I’m sorry to hear of Jose Oritz’s recent passing, as well; my condolences to his family, friends, and fans. I’m pleased to see how the continued enjoyment of their work has given them a degree of immortality they well deserve.

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    1. Warren Comics took on a lot of provocative subject matter during its awesome heyday of the 1970s, including issues and themes that were rarely dealt with elsewhere in the industry back then, either by its bigger four-color competition or its smaller black and white competitors. Bud was in the thick of all of that, and as a creative writer heavily influenced by his work (as have many authors), I’m very glad that he was! 🙂

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