Cartoonist Rusty Haller has passed away today, as reported by his roommate on his FurAffinity journal. Rusty suffered from diabetes for many years, though it was undiagnosed for some time. He was 45 years old. (I have not confirmed this death announcement with any outside sources yet.)
Rusty had a long and varied career in comics, starting in the mid-1980's, with work-for-hire on Deputy Dawg comics. He did a lot of contract work for Marvel on their licensed comics line in the early and mid 1990's, including titles like Alf, Danger Mouse, and Count Duckula. In the last few years, Rusty had been working on his creator owned series, Ace & Queenie, a charming funny animal send-up of Sixties spy films. The series ran in Furrlough on an irregular schedule, starting in issue #146. He also regularly contributed to Hit the Beach and did regular commission work for his fans.
I just talked to Rusty on the phone a few days ago, and we were full of plans to put Ace & Queenie up on the Radio Comix site with an eye towards a future collected print version. We also chatted about some other ideas he'd had kicking around for a few years- comics that could now come to light, with the advent of web publishing. I'm deeply saddened that all those great ideas will come to naught, and that Rusty's dreams can't be realized now.
Rusty was one of the nicest people we've had the pleasure of working with. He was always upbeat and positive, and he was a solid worker when it came to his pages. A consummate professional, he always welcomed honest criticism and constantly strove to improve his work.
He was a great guy, and I will miss him. His sometimes silly, sometimes serious stories always made me smile.