A week ago my dear friend and ex studio-mate SHO MURASE died, after a long & Herculean health struggle. Sho was an inspiring member of the Bay Area animation/comics community, and will be greatly missed by many people around the world who loved her.

Sho Murase’s first book!

We met in the late 1990s as members of MAVERIX STUDIOS, that screwball collective of independent Bay Area animation/comics artists. Sho was the first of us to land her own ‘proper’ book that she both wrote & drew (SEI, DEATH & LEGEND, published by IMAGE COMICS) which was a triumph for her, and her MAVERIX family too. She went on to have a long career in comics, working for many indie & major publishers.

Sho was gracious & gentle, and yet she was independent, fierce and strong. I learned this early, when she graciously & gently but relentlessly kicked my arse in the frequent SOUL CALIBUR tournaments at MAVERIX. Sho needed this give-no-quarter tenacity when her health troubles began. We often exchanged texts joking & commiserating about our respective health woes. Trading tips on navigating the Byzantine bureaucracies of Medicare, MediCal & Social Security Disability. Or how to set up Medical Fundraisers, while grappling with the humbling vulnerability of relying on the generosity of loved ones, and the overwhelming gratitude we felt towards our caregivers.

After many years of kidney trouble, dialysis wasn’t helping her any more and actually made Sho feel even worse, so she finally decided to stop treatment. In her last days, living in Arizona with Guardian Angel FELIPE, she requested a meal from HENRY’S HUNAN in San Francisco. MAVERIX crony VICTOR bought her faves from the HENRY’S menu and shipped them to her in an ice-packed cooler. It was her last proper meal and apparently she loved it, being the first food she’d enjoyed in ages.

Hearing about this I was greatly moved. HENRY’S was the MAVERIX dining room, where we all had many happy meals, laughing and encouraging each other on our respective personal projects. I came to love that restaurant for the camaraderie that we always felt there, and clearly Sho felt this way too. It was where she broke bread with her art clan. Her San Francisco family. (Plus, the food is delicious).

Sho endured great hardship. Why so many horrible people thrive while generous & kind people like Sho live a punishing existence is one of the many cruel mysteries of living a human life. But Sho’s grace in adversity will always be an inspiration to any of us who have our own burdens to bear.

Goodbye, dear Sho.
With love, JB.


24 thoughts on “SHO MURASE”

  1. Jamie,
    I’m so very sad to hear of Sho’s passing. Your comments are so spot on and insightful. My heart aches for those earlier days but, I’m glad we had them. Thank you!

  2. Hi Jamie,

    I’m so sorry to hear about Sho and my heart goes out to everyone in her orbit. Times like these many people ask themselves why they didn’t realize how precious relationships are. I’m glad you did throughout. It made a difference in her life as well as yours. My deepest condolences.

  3. Hi Jamie,

    This news really saddens me. Such a great and touching tribute for Sho. I have many great memories of her as well and most of them involved laughing and talking about art. It is hard to believe she’s gone. I’m glad you two remained close and had so many memories together after we drifted apart. She was such a great creative force and her passion and commitment to her craft was remarkable. I will forever remember her laugh and her beautiful art.


  4. Wow Jamie, no one could say it better. I think back to those Maverix days and know that era will be my favorite time working as an artist. Last time I played Sho in Soul Calibur, she beat the crap out of me, while telling me she didn’t want to play. It was a long bart ride home. I miss those times but am very grateful to have met you all. Thank you for the beautiful tribute to Sho.

    • Ha ha! Yeah, that was Sho’s brawling style. Everyone else would smack talk and boast, but Sho’s way was to be all demure and casual while she served you a thrashing. That made it hurt so much more when she handed you your ass.
      Ha ha!
      She was a gem. Thanks for commenting Vic.

  5. Thanks for this glimpse into your mutual health struggles and camaraderie. I question whether I would hold up so well under the circumstances. Keep going, Jamie.

    • Hello Steven. From what I’ve seen, prevailing in these situations is via the support of our network of family & friends. SHO & I were both very lucky to have had so many people to cheer us on, and help us in our time of need. Thanks very much for commenting.

  6. Wonderful tribute to Sho. I loved going to Henry’s with the Maverix gang. When I was just an intern, I remember noticing, that these folks are really tight. I could feel that they were as close as family. I remember Sho always gave me free stuff! I kept telling her I want to pay. But she would insist Take It! She gave me a bag with her Art on it and it’s my favorite. I wore it proud, showing everyone, how cool my new friend is. Then I got worried I was wearing it out. I still have it. I’m so thankful to have known her. I won’t ever forget her kindness.

    • Sho’s situation was shitty in every way, but she definitely knew that a lot of people loved her by the time she left us.. In the end, is there anything better than that?

      Thanks for adding your impressions of her great spirit, Charlene.

  7. ‪One thing I keep remembering about SHO is that there was this really great fundraiser several years back, and there were some ppl that wanted only “big names” involved. I donated some art, and it was Sho that fought for me to be in the auction. I never forgot that. ‬She actually stood up for me when no one else did, and recognized that I wanted to contribute.

    I also remember how sweet and awesome she was at my birthday party at PPQ. I was always so nervous talking to her because I really admired her as an art hero. I wish I’d not been so nervous. She was such a cool person. A real lovely spirit and artist.

    • I remember that auction.. that one was after I’d left the group, but I donated too.

      MAVERIX auctions were always inclusive of anyone who wanted to help the cause, but as they grew from just the core crew to become a Bay Area ‘event’ there was pressure from some quarters outside the collective to make them more curated. Bugger that.

      SHO was always egalitarian, and gave everyone a shot. She was a cool person.

  8. This is a lovely tribute Jamie. Thoughtful words for such a thoughtful and lovely lady. It was such a privilege to share the Maverix space with all the friends colleagues, especially her as she was such a force, in her work ethic (that I envied so), in her towering talent, in her kindness and her overall spirit. She was definitely one of kind. Will so miss her.

    • My first auction gig was to “Vanna” art for a Maverix auction. I joke that I became the auctioneering demon that I am because of it! Learned at the best!

      I loved her so! What a lovely person. I was always so happy to see her at the Cons. And I always made sure to give her a table break. I’ll never forget her happy surprise to see me at a Wizards World Chicago – we needed a familiar face at that show. The relief of finding each other there!

      Her support and joy at TRICKSTER was something I shall treasure forever. How lucky to have known her personally and professionally.

  9. A beautiful tribute to beautiful human! Sho will be missed as she was such a central figure for the Maverix clan and the comics/animation/illustration world. Thank you for shining a bright and marvelous spotlight in her powerful memory.

  10. Hi Jamie,
    This is such a lovely tribute for Sho. When I got to come work over at Maverix with Vic and Vaughn, Sho was the only other woman around. It was so inspiring to talk to her. I would always drool over her art work and so casually she would say, ” oh, you can do this, you can do anything you want!” She was so positive and so encouraging, all the time! It makes me so sad that the beautiful and talented human being she was, that she had to suffer. Its totally unfair. I know how much we all miss her. Thank you for writing this. 💕

  11. Sho was really kind and reached out to me among others during a bad downturn at the SF studio. I’ll never forget her kindness. Thanks for helping us all deal with these losses, Jamie. Starting with Dan Lee, oh so many years ago. They cheer me up, even if it’s incredibly sad. Love to all,


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