Wednesday, August 28, 2013

RIP Tom Crites

I first learned about Tom Crites's passing from a post by Robin Bougie on Facebook late last night: "I'm devastated to learn that Tom Crites passed away back on Monday the 19th of this month from an overdose of sleeping pills. Tom and I both published each others work -- he in my "Sleazy Slice" series (and the 13th cover of Cinema Sewer), and I in his "Malefact" zine. We never met in person, but we exchanged many emails and messages, and he always struck me as such a warm and gentle soul despite the stark coldness of his maddeningly perfect lines. Just an absolutely brilliant artist (and I don't heap such praise lightly), and one that dealt with challenging imagery that really appealed to me. Gonna miss you, Tom! Thank you so much for wandering into my life and making a positive impact. Your gorgeous work lives on in your stead. http://home.earthlink.net/~tmcrites/" - Robin Bougie ............................................................. I had to read that first part twice to realise what was being related here. Tom Crites did what? ... Passed what now? ... Crites (as I always knew him) has been one of my absolute favourite zine publishers from back in the late '90s when I was doing Sick Puppy and he had at that time both Malefact and Paniscus Revue on the boil. He was a great artist, but I really loved his writing, which could be found in his review zine, Paniscus Revue. ... [right click on image and select Open in New Tab and click on image to inspect in greater detail.]
Here's the Paniscus Revue rating system:
.................................................................................... A page from Paniscus Revue #8, the Print Reviews section, I been re-reading this issue tonight, and when I saw this note I'd scrawled in the corner, "One of the funniest reviews I've ever read!" this was what reminded me of what I admired most about Crites - his way with words.
Another page from Paniscus Revue 8, this one from the Audio Reviews section. Check out the second one, the review of Exhumed. Crites could write fucking badass reviews that gave you a real buzz to read, let's be honest. Nowhere else at this time could you find a zine (much less a 'magazine') that covered so much amazing, deep underground, way-under-the-radar stuff as did Crites's Paniscus Revue. And each issue of this mofo had around 76 pages! We lucky devils \m/
Yes, another page from Paniscus Revue 8 by Tom Crites] ... It was a funny surprise to re-read this page after all these years. Crites's review of an early issue of Jason Rodgers's Psionic Plastic Joy. Crites gave it the lowest score so, perhaps unsurprisingly, I never write to Jason back then, yet today he's one of my zine friends and while I enjoy (in a confused way) his P/P/J zine, I really love his review zine Media Junky.
Here are some more tributes to Crites from his Facebook page... "RIP Tom. I'll miss your clever reviews and enthusiasm for my zines." - Dann Lennard ................................................ "So sad. Malefact and Paniscus Revue were among the very best things to appear from the fanzine scene in the 1990s." - Marcel Ruijters ................................................................ "Last Monday, one of my nearest and dearest friends passed away and this will be my only opportunity to eulogize him. I knew Tom Crites for 23 years and I can say that I never met a man who was as intellectual and low brow, as sarcastic, shitty and kind at the same time, a killer card player, great cook, massively well read, incredibly gifted at both writing and art as he was. He was the true definition of a Renaissance Man. His only fault was that he could never see his own brilliance. He lived in Dorian Gray's two-way mirror world where we could all see him but all he could see was a distorted, twisted picture of himself. Tom's life and death are not teaching tools but I would hope, passionately, that the people in my life that I love and cherish would realize their own worth because I do not keep friends that are not incredibly special. Tom was definitely one of the most special to me. I will try and get some more photos of Tom, by Tom, etc. to put on my own page and if someone in Tom's circle wants to see them, just friend me with the message: Crites! and I will accept you." - Bonnie Pryor Salamanca ............................................................. "In memory of Tom Crites, who passed away on August 19. Tom was an amazing artist and tireless promoter of the sick and twisted in art and culture. I first started corresponding with Tom back in 1995, when he invited me to contribute to his magazine MALEFACT. This was in the pre-internet days of zines, when finding more extreme art and comics was still a difficult, word-of-mouth undertaking. MALEFACT was such a gorgeous mag; each issue was beautifully produced and crammed full of amazing art. It shone like a jewel on an inky heap of poorly-xeroxed scrawls, and I'm eternally grateful to Tom for reaching down into that heap and plucking my own work out of it. Tom's own artwork graced every cover, and it was always an eye-meltingly beautiful. The world needs more people like him. I'm really saddened by this news. RIP, Tom." - Bruno Nadalin ...................................................................................... "I am totally shocked and devastated by this news. Tom Crites was a friend and brilliant artist and he will be greatly missed." - Antoinette Rydyr .............................................................................. "Too many people today are dying from drug overdoses or suicide. There has to be some common denominator as to why this is happening more frequently now than in any time in my memory. I have lost two loved ones to suicide and I honestly can say that I didn't see either one of them coming. Counting Andy Copp earlier this year, who I never met but corresponded frequently, that makes three this year alone. I keep asking myself "Why?", but I still haven't come up with an answer. Something has to be done immediately to tell people that there are other avenues to take besides overdosing or taking your own life. I keep a celebrity death list on my web site and I have noticed that this year has been a bad one for drug overdoses and suicides. I wish there was an easy answer, but there isn't. Suicide affects more than the deceased. It also affects friends and family." - Fred Adelman ............................................................ "Every sentence i think of is shitty, i don't know what to say except that Tom Crites was a truly amazing artist." - David Paleo ..................................................................... "This is a huge bummer. I still have old issues of Malefact that I insist on showing people when they ask what I wish more artists were doing. I always wanted someone to publish a collection of his work because his stuff was completely mind-blowing." - Gabe Martinez ....................................................................... .....................................Okay. Full disclosure time! The real reason I liked Tom Crites was because he gave my comix zine anthology Sick Puppy Comix five monkeys! Heh heh.

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