Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Roger May, R.I.P.

Currently in my life there’s a sad parade of people leaving the planet.

I got word from Michael T. Gilbert on Monday that Roger May has died.

Somewhere near Grass Valley/Nevada City: me, Kevin Brady and Roger May circa 1991
I first met Roger at a comic convention in 1975-- the first San Francisco Bay Con. He was dressed in red long johns, maybe a green cape, with a large red rubber nose. He called himself the Red Banana.

This was a little jolting, even for a comic con back then (and definitely a pre-Cosplay move).

Roger was a wild man. A trickster. Sometimes an uncontrollable force.
He could certainly make things exciting; sometimes he brought along total chaos.

The GroundUnder crew in self caricatures. Roger made a T-shirt out of this.

A cluster of cartoonists from that first Bay Con formed an informal jam night loosely dubbed the GroundUnder Cartoonists. We met on a weekly basis at Kevin Brady’s house. It consisted of Kevin, Marc Miyashiro, Trina Robbins, Michael T. Gilbert, Melinda Gebbie, Dot Bucher, Shelby Sampson, me, and of course, Roger.

Super grainy photo of me (left), Roger (center) and Norman Dog (right) circa late 1970's-early '80's
We're at a Loonies meeting (another San Francisco based cartoonist salon of the day).

Roger had many passions. Two worth mentioning here were mini–comix and stereoscopy (aka 3-D imaging).

A San Diego Con jam with Doug Dougherty, Paul Mavrides, Roger, me, Shel Dorf, Steve Leialoha, Melinda Gebbie, Bob Foster, Trina Robbins, Carlo Lay. Jackie Estrada gave me this photo back in 1979.

Roger was avid creator of mini-comix. He celebrated many a San Diego Comic Con by producing an on-the-spot mini enlisting the talents whoever was handy (which could be Scott Shaw!, B. Kliban, Steve Leialoha, Dan O’Neill, Bruce Simon, Leonard Rifas, Al Gordon, Rick Geary, Pete von Shelly, Revilo, Rogerio, and on and on..).

He also published scads of minis beyond the cons (such as The Short Comings of the Red Banana, Vibratory Provincial News, Mouse Liberation Front Communiqué and High Stakes & Everyday Conflicts).

Somewhere along the line, Roger chanced upon an old stereo camera from the 1950’s and he was off and running. He became wild about 3-D effects and created stereo photography and ultimately produced a series of 3-D comic books (Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, Spirit 3-D, Steve Canyon 3-D, Zenozoic 3-D).

Eventually these two interests collided and he created  "The World’s First   3-D Minicomix".

Roger amused, enraged and inspired.
Roger was an original.


  1. RIP, Roger. You were a true original.

    Jackie Estrada

  2. even though we knew (because he told us) he would be leaving us... it's still a jolt... goodnight Roger, you were indeed, a true original

  3. Larry—Can we use this tribute in the San Diego Comic-Con Souvenir Book? Email me: jackie@comic-con.org