Early on in my career, I met a man named Robert Garrett- spelled with “Two R’s, two T’s and don’t forget” it as he’d like to say. We met at New York Comic Con 2007; for that alone the show will hold a special place in my heart. We became fast friends after that. He became my big brother in life and in Comics; his friendship extended to my family and my friends. In an industry that has often been an unsafe place for women, a place where trusts have been betrayed and corrupted; he was one of the good ones. Protective, caring, sensitive and wholly safe.
I could tell you story upon story about our Convention adventures and then some. Eventually, I will. Robert passed a little over 4 months ago. The wound is still fresh, but not quite raw. He was one of my best friends and until recently, my roommate for almost two years. He became ill early on in his stay. Even though he was sick, he continued working on projects for his company Xmoor Studios. He loved Xmoor, almost as much as he loved his amazing, talented daughter Niya. I watched him work tirelessly throughout the years, words cannot express how hard. He was a brilliant writer, storyteller, and conceptualist. Robert could come up with a concept literally in the blink of an eye. To watch him then flesh out that concept was a sight to behold; I wish I could’ve bottled the way his mind worked.
Throughout the years he created story after story; for comics, film, novels and animation. His creativity was a cornerstone, especially in the Black Comics Community. People would seek his advice, wanting his consult on artistic style and writing tips. He won awards for his work as well; but honestly Robert deserved so much more. The industry almost didn’t deserve him, but it needed him- his voice, his candor, his stories. It still needs him, and creators like him. With that said, Grief is a powerful thing; full of so many emotions I don’t know where to begin. It comes in ripples and waves; becoming so overwhelming sometimes a person doesn’t know what to do. It’s a ball of feelings that you can feel all at once or a hard stroke of a solid emotion that comes out of nowhere. Through the torrent, there is hope- a glimmer here or there that will suddenly burst into sun, then laughter when you think about the good times. These are gifts among the chaos. A gift that I pulled close to me when my mother passed two years ago. So much so, it pushed me…no encouraged me to publish a sweet little children’s book she had hand drawn, written and bound when I was 12 years old. I published it a few months after her passing; words can’t describe how cathartic it was. Working on that project was an integral part of my, (continuous), healing process; just as this new venture Robert’s daughter Niya and I are creating, will be.
We are re-launching his company Xmoor Studios, that he so lovingly passed onto her. It’s something that we have to do- no ifs, ands or buts about it. And he would have it no other way. I can already hear him say ‘You and Niya gotta get it together and do these stories, Regine’. It was hard to even conceive of doing this without him. Early on, I barely wanted to think about it, but I knew it was inevitable. Niya and I talked and talked some more over these past few months; we both felt that pull, we knew that we had no choice- Xmoor Studios had to be relaunched. We couldn’t let Robert’s work or his legacy fall to the wayside. We couldn’t let people forget his name, his work or his passion for the written word.
I’m not going to lie. I’m nervous.’ Galtow’, ‘The Inheritors’, ‘Tool Boi’, ‘Hero Born’, ‘Black Earth’, ‘Ajala’, ’12 Trials’ and more…they are all his babies, his children. I want to do right by them, my friend and his daughter. I’m going to do the very best I can to keep those stores thriving and being; with his daughter’s partnership and determination, we’re going to make that happen. We’re doing a Pre-launch for NYCC 2019 and are doing a small fundraiser for it on the Lockett Down Productions Facebook page; we’re publishing a Limited Edition Memorial book that will be available for sale at the Women in Comics Collective booth #2270, Niya will be doing a book signing sometime that weekend. In early 2020, we’re planning a full Re-launch with a Kickstarter Campaign that will service to Reprint his variously different series and novels. We hope that people are looking forward to this. Robert so loved to create and go to conventions. This is our way of honoring that, by honoring him. So Xmoor is here to stay; forever and always, it’s now Niya’s legacy as much as it was her father’s. From the ashes, Xmoor is Reborn.