Robert Morales, whose writing on the Marvel Comics miniseries Truth: Red, White and Black represents a seminal moment in the complicated history of race and comics, has passed away. The somber news was broken online by legendary sci-fi writer Samuel Delany, who was close to Morales. Delany went to Facebook to offer a few touching words on the loss of his friend.

From Delany's post:

"Robert Morales was one of my closest friends–and had been since he was seventeen year old. He died at his home in Brooklyn this morning, leaving his father and mother. He was fifty-four. We spoke on the phone for many years, at least once a week and often more. I am shattered. His many friends will miss him deeply. He had agreed to be my literary executor, and the idea that he would pre-descease me never entered my head. For me and many others he was an indispensable friend. To say he will be deeply missed is an incredible understatement."

Along with artist Kyle Baker, Morales' Truth expanded upon the story of the super soldier serum that turned Steve Rogers into Captain America. Inspired by the events of the infamous Tuskegee Experiments, Morales and Baker tell a tale of black soldiers in the U.S. Army during World War 2, who are forced to act as test subjects in a military program attempting to perfect the serum eventually administered to Rogers. The results were largely disastrous, leading to painful mutation and death, and leaving a young soldier by the name of Isiah Bradley as the sole survivor.

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly in 2002, Morales described the process of pitching the story to Marvel, saying: "I wrote a proposal that was so staggeringly depressing I was certain they'd turn it down. But they didn't."

On a personal note, Truth is a comic that continues to mean a great deal to me. It's a story whose existence is not only welcome, but was achingly necessary. As a fan who at times feels unwanted or unwelcome in an industry I love, this book remains significant. It was a comic I could show my mother when she questioned, perhaps rightfully, why I cared so much about an industry that often seems to care so little about me.

Robert Morales was 54 years old.

[Via The Beat]

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