Fundraiser launched to help the family of pioneering comics historian, Robert “Bob” Beerbohm

Friends of pioneering American comics historian Robert “Bob” Beerbohm, who, sadly, died on last week after a battle with metastatic colon cancer, have launched a crowdfunder to cover his memorial expenses.

Bob Beerbohm in 2017, holding two copies of America's very first real comic strip (magazine) book dating back to 14th September 1842 published by WIlson & Co, NYC as Brother Jonathan Extra #9, The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck, originally drawn by Rodolphe Topffer in 1828 in Geneva, Switzerland which is where the "modern" comic book was printed as lithography was created, thus invented there. “Staples were not yet invented back then hence Obadiah was bound with thread like string,” Bob noted. “Pulp paper made from wood was not invented until the 1880s.”
Bob Beerbohm in 2017, holding two copies of America’s very first real comic strip (magazine) book dating back to 14th September 1842 published by WIlson & Co, NYC as Brother Jonathan Extra #9, The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck, originally drawn by Rodolphe Topffer in 1828 in Geneva, Switzerland which is where the “modern” comic book was printed as lithography was created, thus invented there. “Staples were not yet invented back then hence Obadiah was bound with thread like string,” Bob noted. “Pulp paper made from wood was not invented until the 1880s.”

Born 17th June 1952, in Long Beach, California, as a child, Bob, whose family was related to the renowned British cartoonist, Max Beerbohm, lived in Saudia Arabia for several years He then moved to Fremont, California, graduating from Fremont High School in 1970.

In 1972, he was a founding member of Comics and Comix with Bud Plant and John Barrett (the retailer that began with the Berkeley Comic Art Shop) and later owned the Best of Two Worlds business, in the San Francisco Bay area. He also worked at Best Comics and Rock Art Gallery, silently supported by the late, much admired comic creator, Rick Griffin.

Comic creator Rick Griffin and Robert Beerbohm viewing the music ongoing in The Cannery courtyard and the huge audience which turned out for the grand opening of Best Comics and Rock Art Gallery on 1st June 1991. Rick sadly died just two months later, following a road traffic accident
Comic creator Rick Griffin and Robert Beerbohm viewing the music ongoing in The Cannery courtyard and the huge audience which turned out for the grand opening of Best Comics and Rock Art Gallery on 1st June 1991. Rick sadly died just two months later, following a road traffic accident

Despite frequent ill health, Bob devoted his life to documenting comics history and comics retail history, often on his Facebook page, his work was unfinished at his passing. He also founded the Platinum Age List.

Comic creator Mark Evanier notes in a tribute that Bob “was an important player in the rise of underground comix, comic book shops and conventions. In fact, he was a fixture at San Diego conventions long before they were called Comic-Con Internationals. For the last decade or three, he had been obsessive about researching the history of comics and comic shops and writing an exhaustive history of both.

“I did not endorse all of his writings on comic book history and in fact disagreed with a lot of it… Right now, I just want to remember the guy as someone who was very passionate about comic books and the people who create them… and who was, like I said, very important in fandom and the marketplace. Despite our occasional disagreements, I have definitely lost a good friend and so has our field.”

“His was a life of passion in pursuit of the deeper history and knowledge of comics,” notes comics publisher and comics champion of Bob, Paul Gravett, “not least the discovery of America’s first comic book, Rodolphe Töpffer’s The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck. What contributions he made… we all stand on the shoulders of giants, and Bob was truly a giant himself.”

Artist Steve Perrin with Bob Beerbohm at San Diego Comic Con in 2011
Artist Steve Perrin with Bob Beerbohm at San Diego Comic Con in 2011

Bob is survived by his daughter, Kathryn Beerbohm Young, and stepsons, Robert and Stephen Jones.

Unfortunately, on his passing, Katy, who had upended her life, moving to Nebraska and losing her job in the process so that she could care for Bob, was unemployed while caring for him. Now, friends of the family have launched a GiFundMe to support her at a difficult time.

“She has run through her savings, and needs some financial support to pay for Bob’s end of life care, funeral expenses,” notes fundraiser Melody Leffler, “and to help Katy with expenses until she can restart her new job and recive a paycheck.

“Bob was an internationally respected early comics retailer, and comics historian. He wrote about comics history on Facebook until the day before he died, and was working on a highly anticipated history book.

“We are hoping that the vast comics community can come together in the memory of Bob, and support Katy in her time of need.”

GoFundMe: Help Katy Beerbohm-Young with memorial expenses for Bob Beerbohm

Robert “Bob” Beerbohm, 17th June 1952 – 27th March 2024

Web Links

• Bob Beerbohm on Facebook – crammed with comics history – Page One | Page Two

Bob Beerbohm – BLB Comic History Research Blog

Wikipedia: Bob Beerbohm

ComicCon Memories – Bob Beerbohm in his Own Words (2010)

Bob Beerbohm’s Bob Beerbohm’s Comic Store Wars Part One

Bob Beerbohm’s Bob Beerbohm’s Comic Store Wars Part Two

Obituaries

Family Obituary: Bob Beerbohm

Bob Beerbohm – A Tribute by Mark Evanier

Bleeding Cool: Bob Beerbohm

This item was updated on 9th April to clarify Bob’s family relationship with cartoonist Max Beerbohm. Although married twice, Max had no children, but the Beerbohm’s were a large family and Bob was descended from it (with thanks to Guy Lawley for the information)



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