My thoughts on the passing of Mike Pandel

Mike Pandel was a long-time employee of A Comic Shop in Orlando, one of the finest comic book stores I’ve ever visited. Tragically, Mike passed away this week, after a traffic accident. 

Regrettably, I didn’t know Mike that well. I met him twice, during two different signings I did at A Comic Shop over the last few years. Signings at A Comic Shop are different than most other store signings I’ve ever done. It’s basically just one long party, where you sign and drink and mingle and laugh a lot. And very quickly you realize, there’s something special about this place, and in particular about the relationship the guys at the store have with their customers. Signing at A Comic Shop is like being invited to a big family reunion where you don’t know anybody but you still feel like part of the family. A place where everybody truly loves life and most definitely loves comics.

So I got to see Mike in action on more than one occasion, and it’s fairly safe to say that Mike was full of life. I know that’s a clichéd thing to say about someone, especially after they’ve died. But with Mike, it’s far from an empty statement. In all my time, in all my travels, I’ve met few people who were truly as full of life as Mike Pandel. He was something of a madman, that’s for sure, but the good kind of madman. The kind you wanted working at a comic book store, sharing his passion with every person who walked through the door. As a comic creator, I loved knowing Mike was out there on the front lines, madly loving comics and spreading that love every chance he got. With him gone, the rest of us will definitely need to step it up and follow his example as best we can.

Thanks for all you did, Mike. Rest in peace.


Mike Garcia at: 2:51 PM said...

Very nice of you to say these kind words about Mike, Jason. You are a great writer, and a great guy after having met you at one of the ACS signings that you spoke about, and this just proves your excellent character that much further. Thank you, from all of us grieving the loss.

Jason Aaron at: 3:49 PM said...

I'm just glad I got the chance to meet Mike. My heart goes out to all of you who knew him.

Valerie Finnigan at: 4:24 PM said...

My experience at A Comic Book Shop was very similar to yours, despite claims and apologies that the place was "dead." I only got to meet Mike once, but yeah, if I traveled all across the country only to do that one signing, it would have been worthwhile. Truly an unforgetable person!

Collectors Corner MD at: 8:43 PM said...

I never met Mike, but spoke with co -owner Jason about store talk a few times and watched the videos for years, those guys including Mike were and still are a much needed injection of fun and entertainment and excitement about comics that was and is still needed in this industry.every store should have a Mike P.

Seth J. Albano at: 10:54 PM said...

Thanks for taking the time to write this, Jason. We met briefly one of the times you swung by ACS; I was the tall guy who wrote a published Jonah Hex comic (Aaron introduced us for a minute, we drank beer). Seeing someone from the REAL big leagues not just giving Mike his due respect but also recognizing just WHAT IT IS that made him a special dude is very encouraging to me. It means that Mike Pandel's passion and enthusiasm lives on as an industry legend. You gave us some good advice; in the future whenever I get frustrated with comics -- be it a script I'm struggling with or the financial issue of reading too many titles -- I'll think of Mike and remember that everything about comic books is WORTH IT in the end. For some it's a diversion and for others it's a hobby, but for many of us it's also a way of life. Mike was the very embodiment of this, and I'll always miss him for it.

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