Lots of news in the world of comics this week, some sad, some shocking, all noteworthy.  Due to the velocity and variety of the news that just broke over the last few days, apologies for the inconsistencies in tone as I address each of these items.

RIP Bob Beerbohm.  Let’s begin with a goodbye to one of the pioneers of the direct market and longtime fixture on the collector and retailing scene, Robert “Bob” Beerbohm, who lost his fight with cancer last week at the age of 72.  Bob was nothing if not outspoken on just about every subject in the ambit of the comics business, from his long (and successful) crusade to extend the history of comics backwards from the 1930s to the “Platinum” and Victorian ages to his pointed reminiscences about the early days of collecting.

As news of his passing spread, he was eulogized by a wide range of creators and comics historians, who valued his uncompromising perspective and vast, if selective, memory.  Family health and financial concerns forced Bob off the convention circuit in the 2010s, but he was very active online.  He frequently shared anecdotes from his long-gestating but still unpublished memoir Comic Store Wars, and raised some very uncomfortable questions about the provenance of Silver Age original artwork that began turning up at conventions in the late 1960s.

Even Bob’s fiercest defenders acknowledged he was both opinionated and relentless, which sometimes made for an exhausting combination.  Others who remember doing business with him recount his unsurpassed talent for burning bridges.  Hopefully the example of his courageous final days staring down a terminal diagnosis with his personal passion undiminished and his voice still clear, softened some of the hard opinions that formed about him from the past.

In my own limited interactions, I found him a warm and genuine man, a fount of information, and a champion of both the art and industry of commerce to his dying breath.  Love him or hate him, you couldn’t ignore him.  The comics world is poorer without Bob Beerbohm.  Condolences to his loved ones.

What’s that “snikt!” sound I hear?  While we just lost one of the forefathers of comics retail from the past half century, one of the era’s most popular characters just gained a new parent!  Over the weekend, we got the news that Marvel Studios is giving a full creator credit on Wolverine to Roy Thomas, alongside long-acknowledged cocreators Len Wein and John Romita, Sr.  Let’s say this news was not welcomed with unbridled enthusiasm among comics professionals online, with former Marvel Editor Bobbie Chase and outspoken pros like Mark Waid questioning the timing of this announcement, given that everyone else with firsthand knowledge of the situation besides Roy himself is now deceased.

Both Roy and his manager, John Cimino, were singled out for criticism over credit theft and, by implication, theft of any revenues that might come with the creator billing.  More than a few people raised eyebrows at the precedent this sets, of staff editors being awarded creator credits on characters that appeared during their watch.

Rather than give my own less-than-informed opinion (I wasn’t there when Wolverine was being created, and neither were you), I thought it would be helpful to get Roy Thomas himself on the record.  Those interested can find my interview with Roy on Forbes today.  He was extremely forthcoming and answered everything I put to him. I’m just going to leave the link here and duck!

Ed Piskor RIP.  As I was finalizing this column, word came that cartoonist Ed Piskor had taken his own life, following two weeks of intense online scrutiny of his behavior in relation to a young female creator.  This is tragic news notwithstanding whatever anyone may think about Piskor’s conduct or work, and a horrible reminder that our toxic online culture has real-world consequences.

It’s one thing to hold one another accountable, to expect public or semi-public figures to conduct themselves appropriately, and to warn potential victims if someone has behavior issues.  But artists and public figures, like all of us, are imperfect, and sometimes say and do things they regret.

The current climate where people in the peanut gallery are rewarded for the most extreme takes on any given subject makes it nearly impossible for the social “punishment” to fit the crime once word starts to spread about some scandal or other.  In this case, whatever mistakes Piskor made in his interactions with women online, it did not seem like it should have been a capital offense.  And yet, here we are.

Back in the 19th century, well-meaning social philosopher Jeremy Bentham conceived of a prison called a “panopticon,” where all the cells faced a central courtyard, so the inmates could be constantly observed.  Since there was no way of knowing whether the wardens were observing a prisoner at any given moment, everyone inside the prison acted under the assumption they were under surveillance at all times.  This was intended to be a more humane alternative to other incarceration methods.  It was eventually abandoned because it was driving the inmates mad.  No one can live their lives like that.

Before the news came out, I had some thoughts on what the loss of Piskor and Jim Rugg’s popular YouTube channel Cartoonist Kayfabe might mean for the business, when I believed that was the extent of the damage likely to come from the revelations.  Needless to say, that can wait. I’ll close this column the way I opened it, with sincere condolences to the loved ones of the flawed but genuine person they, and we, have lost.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.

Rob Salkowitz is the author of Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture and an Eisner-Award nominee.