Recent News

Many of you have already found out, via Facebook I assume, but for those who aren’t aware, my father Bill Bickel aka CIDU Bill passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday the 16th. The obituary and funeral page can be found here:

We have been so impressed and touched to see how many CIDU readers have already found out and posted beautiful notes on the funeral page. It’s obvious that he had an impact on people through this site. It seems like such a lovely and supportive community. I can say that for me personally, both the March of Dimes and the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association fundraising drives have great personal meaning and I have been blown away every year to see how much the CIDU readers raise for these causes.

We are still sorting through my dad’s sizable digital trail. I’m not sure if there can be a future for CIDU but for those of you who are really involved in this community, please reach out to me via Facebook if you have any thoughts at all on what you think could or should come next.

-Aaron Bickel


  1. I consider the loss of your father to be among the nastiness the year 5780 has to answer for. May we take his memory as a blessing into 5781.

    And I will always carry with me some of the things I’ve learned here, from him: Rav Bill Bickel taught, in the name of Rav Uncle Irv, that this could not have been Kowalski, because Kowalski was taller than that.

  2. Well, ****. I’m a relative newcomer here but, like so many, had made it a daily stop. And of course this wee cairn on the Internet is but a shadow of what the man meant to those close to him.

    Aaron, for what little it’s worth, I am mourning tonight with you.

  3. My condolences. Your dad will be missed by all of us here. Thank you for posting and letting us know. He was a fun guy and did a wonderful job bringing a bit of fun and levity to all of us, especially in these times when we really need as much of that as we can find.

    2020 can’t end soon enough.

  4. I am so terribly sorry for your loss, Aaron. Thank you for letting us know, this community he started and maintained means a lot to us readers and commenters. I expect we will all miss him badly, we certainly won’t forget him.

  5. I am awed anew at the positive impacts Bill made. Many who were content to lurk here felt strongly enough about Bill’s contribution to the world to post to the funeral page. Aaron then took time during the Holy days, his grief, and the sudden tasks that befall survivors to find his way into Bill’s WordPress account to communicate with us here. I don’t think there are many others who have created such a large community of caring, intelligent people, most of whom he never met.

    Aaron, thank you. And be assured that many people’s lives are better because of Bill. We grieve with you, give thanks that we knew Bill, and will keep alive our memories of him for years to come.

  6. My deepest commiserations to Bill’s family.

    I knew Bill only from his online presence, but I always enjoyed his virtual company. I like to think we could have been friends if we met in person.

    I hope the community he started can continue in some form. But that is a discussion for later. For the moment we should allow the family to grieve in peace.

  7. Aaron, your father was a wonderful man who brought so much happiness into the lives of so many here, including myself. Thank you for taking the time, even in your grief, to let us know. I will miss him very much. My deepest condolences on your loss.

  8. Aaron – I am sorry for our loss, deeply sorry for your loss. Bill was a fine man, but you know that. Blessings for your family.

  9. Bill seemed like a good friend, although I only knew him through CIDU. He was knowledgeable, with a great sense of humor, and consistently brightened my life. I will miss him deeply.

  10. I didn’t contribute here much, but I’ve seen Bill around since the rec.arts.comic-strip days, and he always struck me as a kind and knowledgeable man. He will be missed, and I am sorry for your loss.

  11. I’ve never commented much, but I’ve been around a long time and gotten so much joy from this site. I will miss Bill a lot. I am so sorry for your loss and am so thankful we got to share in his life.

  12. Aaron, as others have said, thank you for posting here to let us know. Your father was much appreciated and will be missed. Or, to avoid the passive, I will miss him.

  13. Like many others, I only knew Bill through his online presence, but the community of thoughtful, funny, and caring people he built here is a testament to his good nature and loving heart. He will be missed.

  14. I am truly sorry for your loss. I found this site a few years ago and it’s been a daily stop ever since. His take on the strangeness of our entertainment will be missed.

  15. Thank you for thinking of us during this time. You seem to have inherited your father’s care and compassion. It’s safe to say we are all sad to hear the news. In more than 20 years of visiting the site and the occasional e-mail, Bill was always a gentleman.

    I hope you are finding comfort in your good memories. I can say, from experience, that you never get over something like this, but you do get through it and the good memories come with more smiles and fewer tears.

  16. Aaron, please accept my deepest sympathies on your family’s loss and on our little community loss. Your father helped many find joy in the comic strips and his humanity touched us all. He will be greatly missed. May God comfort you and yours in this time of great sorrow.

  17. Arron, I was shocked when I heard the news of Bill’s passing. My most heartfelt and sincere condolences to you and the entire Bickel family. I will miss Bill’s humor and the gap in my routine of checking into CIDU every morning before I start work. So sad to lose a good laugh in this year of such unhappiness. Alav hashalom CIDU Bill.

  18. I am so sorry to hear of Bill’s death, and I offer my condolences to his family and friends. I will miss Bill’s humor and the spirit of kindness and camaraderie he engendered in this community.

  19. I am at a total loss. I’ve never met him but he’s been a part of my daily life for countless years. With COVID lifestyle changes I can only check in about twice a week, which is why I’m just now finding out. I’m in shock.

  20. He’s the guy I wanted to grow up and be like. And he was two years younger than me. He will be missed. His memory will be celebrated.

  21. I first came across CIDU and our esteemed host while in college almost 20 years ago. On and off through the years, his was one of the most prolific online acquaintances I have had, not just here but his Crimeweek blog and social media as well. Through this site, and previous iterations, Bill has exposed me to a plethora of comic strips I would not have otherwise come across. His presence will be missed, and condolences to Mr. Aaron and the rest of the family. To my fellow CIDU’ers, I can’t help but wonder what shenanigans IBB may get into now?

    -Rasheed Khaleel

  22. Wow, this was an unexpected blow. I’d found it odd he hadn’t posted for a few days but chalked it up to another of the many technical problems longtime viewers of this site were used to. That he’d passed didn’t even cross my mind.

    Love and sympathy to all Bill’s family and loved ones. I know his presence on this site was only a small percentage of what he was like in person but he clearly was a smart, funny, patient, kind man. We’ll all miss him.

  23. Aaron,

    I will echo the sentiments of others, your father will be missed, and not just for the daily laughs.

    A good man, who occasionally asked for help with good causes.

    Thank you for the time we got with him.

    Ryan Erickson

  24. I’m speechless. There’s no way words can convey the positive impact Bill had.

    I’ll say this, though:

    Bill managed to put up a site (CIDU) where — unlike almost everywhere else on the internet — the average comment was very intelligent and a pleasure to read. And that’s saying a lot.

    Goodbye, Bill. I hope you soon get to see the positive impact you had on the world.

  25. It’s great that we are hearing from the more quiet members of the community, the ones who weren’t posting all the time. I think we forget how many would read the site but chose not to post. Obviously, Bill was aware of them and ensured it remained someplace that would be worth visiting by encouraging civility. I think it is also a beautiful example of how our lives can have ripples that touch people without being apparent to others. I’m sure that Bill did that in his real-world life as well. Certainly through his charity work, but also in raising a good family.

  26. This site has been a part of my day, every day, for at least a decade, and has always brought joy.
    So sorry for this loss to the family and the community, especially at a time when we so need humor.

  27. Like all of the other posters here, and especially (I’m sure) like his family, I’m still shocked and saddened. This was a “check several times a day” site for me, day after day, for years.

    Bill was funny, intelligent, hard-working (clearly), even-handed, and he readiated decency.

    “Shrug” (Dennis Lien)

  28. I don’t remember how I first came across the CIDU page, but it was back in the “While you’re waiting for the download” days. It has been one of my favorite and regular stops on the web. I will sure miss Bill and his contribution to modern civilization. We could use more people like this remarkable yet ordinary man.

  29. So sorry for your loss. May you be comforted among all the mourners of Zion and May Bill’s memory forever be a blessing.

  30. Bill was always highly complimentary of the collective intelligence of CIDU posters, but it was clear that his own intelligence and judgment were of the highest order. You were lucky to have him for a father.

    I have been following Comics I Don’t Understand since before it was a blog. I was shocked and extremely sorry to learn that Bill will no longer be part of my life.

  31. Leaving this comment with the most compassionate intent: Maybe now he can get the Specter of Death to explain, in person, all the DICU comics that have been posted about him.

    Thank you for being a happy place on the interwebs.

  32. After thinking about all of this for several days, I still cannot express my grief in any form better than what already has been written by others (in this thread and elsewhere).

    I was extraordinarily fortunate to be able to meet both Bill and his wife Robin during their visit to Berlin a few years ago. Even though it was just one (very long) day of sightseeing, it provided ample evidence of his pleasant, affable nature (and hers, too, of course). I was simply glad to be able to show them a few spots in and around Berlin that were not on the “standard” lists of tourist attractions.

    Besides the CIDU website, I will also miss Bill’s cheerful banter about linguistic topics (in German and/or Yiddish, or sometimes even English).

    P.S. I’ve placed some of my ideas about CIDU’s future in the “random comments” thread.

    P.P.S. If anyone knows a Yiddish antonym for “mazeltov”, please let me know.

  33. I’m envious, Kilby. I’m sure it was a great time.

    There was talk about a business trip to New York City in April (the talk was in Feb, the trip would have been in Apr). It would have been my first and the most exciting thing I could think of that I wanted to do in NYC was to take Bill to lunch. Details never got close to being finalized, so I never did bring it up to him. 😦

  34. Bill made this a consistently entertaining site, overcoming technical difficulties and the natural tendency of internet things to decay over time. I hope his family can find some comfort in how much he and his site meant to so many people.

    I’d file this post under a new category:


  35. I’ve been coming here daily since the ‘while you’re waiting for the download’ days. Aaron, your father was a remarkable man, and I will miss his intelligence, his humor, his unceasing civility, and his talent for steering such a diverse group of people always to the civil side of the street. Please accept my sincere condolences on your loss.

  36. Bill will be profoundly missed. Checking this web site was a high point of each day and Bill’s personality was a big part of that. My condolences to his family and friends, we all will miss him.

    This probably says more about me being a bad person than anything else, but after the profound sadness, one of my first thoughts was someone should contact all those companies that IBB gave the wrong email address to and let them know that Bill has passed on. Seems like that would be be something Bill would approve of.

  37. Kilby — the antonym for “mazel tov”, “good luck”, is “mazel ra”, “bad luck”, and the whole Jewish year 5780, which just ended, was entirely filled with it. And Bill’s death was just one more piece of the way the year 5780 just was a year of mazal ra.

    Or, if you’re asking more colloquially than literally, well, when you hear something worth congratulating, you say “mazal tov” — and when you hear something like this, you say “baruch dayan ha-emet”. When you hear a piece of news that just feels like you’ve been kicked in the gut, like that Bill Bickel died, you say, “Blessed is the True Judge” … kind of like how, in English, you might say, “Oh God…”

  38. Aaron, please accept my heartfelt condolences on your family’s loss. I’ve followed CIDU on and off perhaps 20 years or more. I’ve lost track of how many times I came across a comic I didn’t understand until the wisdom of the community he started enlightened me. It may feel hollow now, but Bill touched the lives of people all over the world. Thank you for sharing him with us.

    I hope you find comfort in this time of sorrow. May his memory always be a blessing.


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