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.
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.