Rocco Nigro, it’s YOUR fault.
Rocco was this obnoxious kid that used to come into FantaCo, the (now deceased) Albany comic book store, and haggle over the prices of the back issue comics when I started working there in 1980. Eventually, though, I grew to like him, as did the others, and he started working there, staffing the front of the store occasionally, but also mostly doing mail order. Rocco, incidentally, probably knows more about the Beatles than anyone I know who was born after the group first appeared on Ed Sullivan.
When Mitch was fired in 1983 (for reasons now lost on me), Rocco was outraged, and he quit. But when I was buried in mail order sometime in 1987, Rocco came in with me one Sunday afternoon, and we all but obliterated the backlog. He did that out of loyalty to me, in spite of his (then) continued enmity towards the store owner. I always appreciated that.
I worked with him again occasionally at Mitch’s Midnight Comics in 1991 and 1992. And I visited him in HIS store, Crypt O’ Comics, in the mid-1990s. I’d see him occasionally in a couple of book stores he worked at.
But it had been well over a year since I had last seen him when I went into The Book House an independent book store in Stuyvesant Plaza in Albany in October 2004 looking for my friend Norman, who wasn’t there. Rocco, however, was.
We talked at length about many things, but most intriguing was his high praise of this website by one Fred Hembeck, an artist who had done work published by FantaCo with whom I had lost touch at least a decade earlier. I checked out Fred’s site, liked it, got intrigued by this blogiverse, and the rest is electronic history, and, as I said, Rocco’s fault. You can find out more about Rocco here (May 14) or here (May 14) and, as I understand it, here (May 14).
Happy birthday, Rocco. BTW, you’re turning 41, in case you’ve forgotten.