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.