Terribly sad to hear we have lost Bernie this week after a long and strong fight with cancer.
Darwyn used to tell a story about his first convention as a fan, it would have been in the late 70s or 80s in Toronto. He's told this story before so I'm sure someone can find a link of him telling it himself in his big style.
He was a teenager and an artist, he had saved his money and decided he was going to spend 10$ getting a commission from an artist I can't recall the name of but Dar was a big fan of. This was all of his convention spending money.
He picked up the commission and didn't feel the artist had done a great job and was pretty bummed. He went to get some books signed by Bernie and Bernie, being Bernie, started conversation and while they were talking Dar asked if he felt the commission was worth 10$.
Bernie (lovingly) berated the artist for ripping off a kid and then took out some paper. He did a full page sketch for Dar at no cost and took the time to look through Dar's portfolio AND showed it to some editors that were at the show too.
Darwyn never forgot how Bernie treated him that day. He really took it to heart how it felt to be on the fan side of the table and how crushing it was to be disappointed by your hero. Bernie made Darwyn that nice guy you all knew who took the time to draw with little kids or give some one feedback on their art (constant advice: learn to draw backgrounds).
He also made Darwyn into the artist we all loved. Dar said Bernie was one of the greatest artists of all time, and that since Bernie has mastered drawing with all of the lines, he would have to master using no lines.
Bernie was also a big supporter of love and marriage. He taught all of us how important a happy loving relationship was to being successful. I saw Bernie and Liz in Boston in August, he was sick but doing well. My last memories are of him with Vivi Staggs and the other kids at Jimmy's birthday party. Smiling and laughing.