Lou Stathis obituary

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DCO Moore

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May 7, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/7/97
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With profound sadness, DC Comics regrets to announce that VERTIGO editor
Lou Stathis passed away in the early morning on Sunday, May 4, after a
ten-month battle with brain cancer. He was 44 years old.

"Lou had a brilliant mind, a razor-sharp wit, and a tenacious spirit,"
said Karen Berger, Executive Editor -- VERTIGO. "He was totally dedicated
to his job at DC, and brought an intelligence and a sense of challenge to
everything he approached. There was no pretense with Lou -- he always said
what everyone else
was afraid to say -- and that's one of the qualities I admired most about
him. For those of us lucky to have known him well, we knew that beneath
that tough veneer was a gentle and generous person." Longtime friend and
collaborator Matt Howarth summed up the loss: "I've lost a dear friend and
collaborator. You've lost a truly brilliant writer, a masterful editor, a
prime mover and instigator
of really cool stuff. We're all on our own now."

Stathis began work as an editor at VERTIGO in the middle of 1993, where he
edited such titles as ANIMAL MAN, BLACK ORCHID, HELLBLAZER, DOOM PATROL,
INDUSTRIAL GOTHIC, DHAMPIRE: STILLBORN, THE UNSEEN HAND, PREZ, and THE
SYSTEM. Cartoonist Peter Kuper, creator of THE SYSTEM, remembered his
time with Stathis fondly: "Lou was the most creative editor I've ever
worked with. He understood where to give artistic freedom and when to give
guidance."

Stathis built those skills over years of working, both as an editor and as
a writer, in nearly every aspect of the publishing world -- including
books, magazines, and comics. Prior to his position at DC, he had been
editor-in-chief of Reflex, managing editor of High Times, associate editor
of Heavy Metal, assistant editor at Dell Books, and assistant editor of
Amazing and Fantastic
magazines. He was also a freelance editor at the comics publisher Vortex,
editing Howard Chaykin's Black Kiss, Ted McKeever's Transit, and Howarth's
Those Annoying Post Bros. In addition, his freelance writing credits --
far too lengthy to list in total -- included Spin, Details, Rip, Twilight
Zone, Heavy Metal, Cheval Noir, Whole Life, Future Life, Science Fiction
Eye, Music and Sound Output, Alive, and Punk.

In his work as a journalist for the music industry, Stathis was an
aggressive champion for alternative and progressive music. According to
Ned Sublette, owner of the record label Qbadisc and a musician
specializing in "cowboy rumba", "Lou's tastes in music ran towards the
highly intelligent and the highly toxic. He loved industrial music before
it was industrial music, but there wasn't anything he wouldn't listen to.
The thing that Lou did so well was that he would let you write about
anything you wanted -- and his editing was always positive. He was the
only reason I wrote for Reflex."

But no matter what genre or medium to which he referred, in all of his
work Stathis propagated an all-encompassing approach to culture -- an
approach that he outlined in an interview for SHOP TALK, DC's newsletter
to its freelance community: "I see connections between all vital forms of
popular art. It's all in the mix, and to erect barriers between, say,
comics and music -- to ignore the noise from any part of the system -- is
counterproductive and just plain stupid. Most of the artists and writers I
know listen to and take inspiration from music while they work; most of
the musicians I know read comics and get off on the imagery. There's an
intense, crosscultural/media conversation going on, and all you have to do
to hear it is stop listening selectively."

Stathis is survived by his mother, Mary, his sisters, Florence Farrat and
Marguerite Sillis, and his girlfriend, fellow VERTIGO editor Shelly
Roeberg.

The wake and funeral will be held at John J. Barrett and Sons, located on
at 424 West 51st St. between 9th and 10th Avenues in New York City. The
wake will be held from 2:00-4:00 pm and 7:00 -9:00 pm on Wednesday, May
7th. Funeral services will be on Thursday, May 8th at 10:00 am.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to: Bone Marrow
Transplant Fund at Columbia University, Attn: Joanne, Milstein Pavilion
c/o Dr. Hesdorffer, 177 Ft. Washington Ave., 6th Floor, Room 435, NY, NY
10032.

Plans for a benefit and scholarship fund will be announced later.


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