by Nat Gertler
I hadn't known Steve over the years (although I am quite fond of some of his work), but over the last few months I'd been interacting with him, mainly via email - first with small amounts of charity, then with helping him through straightforward business, buying out the rights to the Salimba work he did with Paul Chadwick, then with buying a new Salimba prose story from him.
Steve struggled hard during those few months, from his physical failures, from problems of access to health care, and from the various other difficulties brought on by lack of money. But through all that, he continued expressed his appreciation for all that his supporters had brought, feeling that he only had a roof over his head and what health care had held him together this long thanks to that support, which came largely from those within the comics community, whether it was old friends like Bissette, or from both pros and fans he had not known, or from the wonderful Hero Initiative. He knew the end was coming (although not in the way it appears to have come), and was doing whatever he could to smooth the path for his son. (That concern permeates the prose story, which he felt was the last he would write; in it, Salimba struggles to care for a child that she is not equipped to handle.) It is such a relief that, whatever has befallen Steve, it has not befallen Leo.
Give to the Hero Initiative -- they've got a lot of way to give, some quite painless. If you want to keep up your tough-guy image, they have a variety of cool products you can buy so you can pretend you're not being charitable when you send them your money. They do a lot of good with what they get.