I haven’t said anything about this for a few days because I was busy trying to process it all, and because I wasn’t sure what to say exactly or if my saying anything would matter. It’s a routine I go through every time somebody I care about passes away, and that’s been happening too much in the last few years.
We lost Jeremy Dale this week. If you attended or worked any conventions in North America in the last six or seven years, you’ve probably seen him or met him at some point. If you didn’t have the pleasure of knowing him, let me tell you – you missed out on a great man. One of the funniest people I’ve ever known, Jeremy was also among the hardest working, the most open, and the most big-hearted people you could hope to meet. He was gregarious, filling any room he was in with this presence he always carried. The man could make you feel good, no matter how things were going. When he and his wife Kelly were together, it was almost impossible not to smile.
Comfort and I met Jeremy at a time when we were just starting our careers in comics. He was trying to get his own career kick-started after some disappointing gigs, and we were getting ready to start Uniques. We found in him and Kelly kindred spirits, and shared so much in common that we were fast friends. We spent most of 2010 rooming with them at various conventions – they let us stay in their house for Dragon*Con, where we and Jeremy never really stopped working.
So it’s hard, now, to conceive of a world without Jeremy Dale in it. He and Kelly were such extremely important parts of a wonderful time in our lives, and even though we couldn’t find as much time to be together in the last couple years, they were never not around. I don’t know if I’ve even really entered the grieving process yet, because I still can’t process the idea that he’s gone. It might not fully hit me until convention season next year when we get to a show like C2E2 or Dragon*Con – big Jeremy Dale shows – and he’s not down the aisle making goofy faces at us to try and get us to laugh.
Jeremy Dale: Nobody else could make your cheeks hurt so bad with laughter.
If I’m rambling now, I’m sorry. That he is gone at 34 years old is a crime. It’s unfair. We won’t get to read how Skyward ends. People will be walking through an artist alley next year, and there’s just going to be this empty hole where once sat a great man who was just getting started. I’ll never forgive existence for this, because a world without Jeremy Dale won’t laugh as much as it’s supposed to. It won’t ever feel right in that way again.
This was a man who could make a cutting critique of your work that would leave you feeling unsure of yourself for days, but who could just as quickly say something to make you smile for weeks. He was one of the best storytellers I ever met. He always gave more than you asked for, either in friendship or business. We had the pleasure of collaborating with him on Uniques Tales, he contributed pieces to The Uniques and to a project we haven’t even released yet, and he was always fun to work with. People who commissioned work from him frequently got more work than they paid for. He gave and gave and gave and never asked anything in return.
That’s Jeremy Dale. That was my friend. The biggest heart in the room, every time. He made you want to work harder; to be better, funnier, smarter, faster. He loved his job, he loved telling stories, he loved his dog, and he loved his wife with everything he had. A man couldn’t strive for more.
If you don't know his work, check his dA page here If you knew and loved him like so many of us did, please consider donating a little something to this GoFundMe campaign started to help Kelly Dale deal with the hospital expenses she's left with. Kelly is every bit the treasure of a human being Jeremy was, and I can only imagine her grief. I have faith that she's surrounded by people who love her right now, and know better about losing somebody than to try and speak to her loss with anything more than my sympathies and love.
Goodbye, Jeremy. We'll miss you more than you ever could have known.