Life In Four Colors: Memorial
Darrel L. Buffington
Have you ever met someone and knew from that very moment, when introductions were made, that this person was going to change your life forever? I'm talking someone like a teacher you just knew you were never going to forget. A boss you once had and always seemed to recall. Perhaps a police officer you met when you were young. That's what I mean. Someone who would make a lasting impression on the way you lived your life from that point on. Leaving an impact so enduring that even after being gone for years, rarely a day would go by without recollecting something this person did.
Something this person said. Someone time may have stolen away, but who lives on forever in your heart, mind, and soul.
Someone like Darrel L. Buffington. Founder of Dragonsound Art Studios in Springfield Ohio.
Without a doubt, a person who forever changed me, helping me to become what I am today and the man responsible for me attempting to achieve what I once thought would be impossible. If not for Darrel (or Buff as many of his friends would call him) I seriously doubt I would be doing what I am today. I would have never been involved with Zonetrooper Magazine and more than likely this site as well. I would have never met Joe Shover or Chris Metzger. And I may have gone insane without his advice on several thousands of personal dilemmas he walked me through.
But more than anything else, Buff taught me how to dream. Of course I used to have dreams, but at the time I met Buff all of those long forgotten dreams were neatly packed away and collecting dust. Shuffled away in the corners of my mind. Buff saw the dreamer in me somehow and convinced that same dreamer to come out and play. "Don't be afraid of trying something and failing." He would say. "Anybody can fail. That's easy. Be afraid of success. Are you afraid to succeed?"
I won't say I've succeeded, yet. But I'm still trying. Still chasing the dreams he helped me unpack and spit shine.
And although Buff taught me so much about dreams he also left me with a very hard lesson in reality.
Nobody lives forever. And to everything there is an ending.
Darrel L. Buffington died Friday ...February 18th 2000 of complications brought on by diabetes. He was only 44 years old. In the end one of the most inspirational people that I would ever meet would never live long enough to see his dreams become a reality. Joe and I helped tear down and pack away those dreams, unfinished projects and journals of notes that would never develop into what he had envisioned. And both Joe and I came to the same conclusion.
Dreaming only gets you so far. You have to cross that threshold where the dream becomes a plan. A plan that becomes solidified by only committing time, energy, and passion to it.
Then, God willing......you get to live that dream Share that dream and make believers of those who placed their faith and support in you.
And although Buff has been gone for several years I know he's still watching over Joe, Chris and I as well as others that once called his home theirs as well. I think he would be proud. He even has the tendency to pop up from time to time, the subject of a song or two that I have written over the years. He appeared as a bartender in the Champions comic book script that I submitted to Marvel Comics. A role I liked him in so much that I wrote it into the Un-Naturals, a comic book series that Oscar Pena and I are working on. He popped up again in the Three Wise Men movie script, as himself.
I share his artwork at shows and at comic shops wherever I get the chance. It's my way of sharing his talent with others, and it's a way that hopefully that same talent can still encourage and inspire new artists, just like it did Chris Metzger, Stacy Gaston, Joe Shover, and me.
Through the work we create we can share who he was and what he meant to us with you. A portion of his dream does become real.
You'd have like the guy.
Darrel L. Buffington Sunrise: September 14th 1955 Sunset: February 18th 2000.
Bill Gladman - Bill is a writer and illustrator and currently working on several different projects including the first issue of an ongoing comic book series (Prodigy), an illustrated fantasy novel (The Book of Noheim), and the first of four illustrated science fiction/fantasy novels (Jack the Rabbit, Living Legend of the Purple Plains) as well as a light-hearted on going mini-comic (Three Wise Men). Bill also pens a column for Comic Related and will be doing a mix of regional convention coverage.
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