In memory of CIDU Bill Bickel

Several years ago, Bill commented upon the unusual frequency of “Grim Reaper” comics, and he even held an informal submission contest to prove his point.

For this reason, I suggested scheduling the following comic collection for today, the second anniversary of Bill’s extremely untimely passing, in memory of a dear friend whom we all miss terribly, and who (I believe) would have understood this rather unorthodox memorial presentation in the humorous and good-natured fashion in which it is sincerely intended.

It’s simply a real shame that Bill could not have had the chance to read and comment upon these comics with us all.

Michael Kilby

This Strange Brew was contributed by Andréa, originally as an Oy:

Leigh Rubin keeps on returning to the Grim Reaper theme:

Here’s a twist!


  1. I would also like to say thanks to Mitch and Phil for their kind support in helping to compose and post this memorial. (Bismarck’s comment about “Laws and Sausages” could be applied with equal force to “WordPress posts”.)

    P.S. Anyone interested in reviewing more of the “CIDU Grim Reaper” archive should also check the comments in “Loose Death“. Since that was the last such post by Bill, it became the unofficial repository for subsequent comics.

  2. And raising a cup o’ coffee to him from Florida. I submitted a humongous amount of Grim Reaper comics to the Loose Death comments, but then stopped doing so. Have seen many many since.

    Personally, I think the popularity of Sir Terry’s characterization of DEATH caused this increase, either in actual numbers, or in our/my notice of them. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!

  3. Every day, I give at least one thought to BB and one to Sir Terry, as well as several others in my life who have left.

    “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
    This is to have succeeded.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  4. @ Andréa – If you remember any particularly good “Grim Reaper” comics that have not yet appeared at CIDU, you would be more than welcome to append them here. I’ve kept my eyes open since I came up with this idea, but I haven’t seen that many recently.

  5. The best tribute to Bill is the continuation of this forum. Thanks to his family for allowing that and to the participants who stepped to make it happen.


    “Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.

    “The End.”

    Rhianna Pratchett (his daughter)

  7. You helped me understand the comics, but I’ll never understand why you were taken so soon. Much love to the Bickels.

  8. So … Death brought the deadly mushrooms, Famine brought only one egg, Pestilence the Salmonella, Destruction nothing but bones? Very well done!

  9. Yes, Bill is missed.

    Per the webpage with information about him and his death when he died, he was to be (is, I presume) in the same cemetery as my dad. I had planned to stop by and visit with Bill when I made my annual visit to dad, but then along came the pandemic and I have not been there. I do hope to visit him in the future.

  10. I don’t suppose you could put a [very small] stone on his grave marker to represent each and every one of us who still misses him and thinks of him often . . .

  11. @ Andréa – Even if you reduce the stones to the size of gravel, that would still be a very heavy bucket.

    P.S. One of the places that I took Bill to visit during his trip to Berlin in June 2017 was the palace “Sans Souci” in Potsdam, just southwest of Berlin. This was the favored “bachelor hideout” of Frederick the Great (of Prussia), who (among other things) was famous for using a sneaky trick to convince local farmers to plant potatoes.† For this reason, his grave (which was moved to the palace grounds shortly after German unification) is usually decorated with a motley collection of spuds. I have a photo of the palace from that day, but none of Bill, who politely but firmly refused to let me take any pictures of him.

    P.P.S. † – According to the legend, Frederick II had a field planted with potatoes, and then stationed guards all around the field. He allegedly instructed the guards not to watch very carefully. Local farmers, who had previously been very reluctant to adopt the newfangled crop, figured that if the potatoes were worth guarding, they must be worth stealing, which ultimately led to the potato becoming perhaps the most popular German carbohydrate (besides bread).

  12. I was thinking more the size of pea gravel, but you’re right . . . Maybe just give Bill a mental greeting from us all instead.

    @Meryl – in what cemetery are your father and Bill located?

  13. P.P.P.S. This is the photo of “Sans Souci“, taken on June 14th, 2017:

    The gravesite that I mentioned in the P.S. is located immediately to the right of the dome on the right side of the picture (the dome is actually the top of a gazebo). The green plants on the terraced hillside are grape vines and fig trees (behind the gates). Bill was standing somewhere behind me.

  14. @ Andréa – I did indeed consider snapping a picture of him when he was not looking, but finally decided that it wouldn’t be kosher. Better to admit that I don’t have one now, rather than sharing one that I had no right to have.

  15. I remember Bill posted a photo of himself here once. I think, if I recall, he was dressed as Charlie Brown for Halloween, along with other family members as other Peanuts characters.

  16. Leigh Rubin wrote back to let me know that his “intended” identifications for the “Four Hors D’Oeuvres” was slightly different from MiB’s solution; so from left to right, they are “Death,“, “War“, “Pestilence“, and “Famine“.

  17. Oh, I get it: War is making everyone fight for the one egg. Famine brought nothing edible, just bones.

  18. Cemetery is Beth David in Elmont, NY.

    Mel Brooks has someone there also as once when dad was alive he and mom saw Mel Brooks & his son (a child at the time) walking and they all waved hello. (94yo Mom still remembers this and tells me about it when it when dad and the cemetery are mentioned.)

    All of dad’s family is there – mom’s is elsewhere.

  19. I’m thrilled this thread has been revived (so to speak) . . . I really enjoy the Grim Reaper’s comic permutations.

  20. @ Andréa – If you enter “Grim Reaper” into the search field at GoComics, it will produce nearly 700 results. The vast majority of them should stay where they are, only a very few are worthy of inclusion in a thread like this one.

  21. Lookin’ ’em up would be cheating. I only want to see the ones that come up serendipitously . . . I know that isn’t a word, but I’m using it anyway.

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