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.