Another tragic hit-and-run in Santa Monica last weekend has left comic-book great Roger Slifer, 57, in critical condition.
The legend behind DC Comics superhero Lobo and the beloved old TV show Transformers was crossing 5th Street at the Colorado Avenue intersection around 12:57 a.m. early Saturday morning when he was plowed down by a white sedan with tinted windows, police say.
After breezing through the crosswalk…
… “the driver of the vehicle failed to stop for the collision and continued northbound on 5th Street to Broadway, where they turned right and continued eastbound out of sight,” according to the Santa Monica Police Department.
The victim reportedly sustained “major head and body trauma” in the accident. He's currently in a medically induced coma at a UCLA trauma center, where his cousin says “he also has a broken shoulder, collar bone and an unknown number of ribs, all on the left side. A feeding tube has been installed with an Ensure type nourishment.”
The comic-book community has come out from all corners of the Internet in support of Slifer, urging Santa Monica police to do everything they can to track down his killer.
Flint Dille, a friend of Slifer's and comic-book legend in his own right, posted a plea on Facebook for civilian help in the investigation:
“We had originally thought of keeping this quiet, because Roger is a fairly private guy, but as word is out and time might be of the essence if we're going to find the hit-and-run driver, I'll post what I know.
Roger is in Ronald Reagan Hospital at UCLA (I have not been in to see him, but his friends Will and Barry have). He is in intensive care. The nurse on duty could only tell me that he was in critical condition with a brain injury. Will and Barry said that he was unresponsive, but was heavily medicated since they had to do some brain surgery. I think the truth is that nobody knows what will happen. Prayers would be a good thing.
On the criminal front, it would be a very good thing to find the driver, not only for reasons of justice, but also insurance. We have no idea what Roger Slifer's insurance situation is, but we suspect that it would be extremely helpful for medical bills.
The problem at the moment is that the Santa Monica Police do not seem to be making as much progress as they should. Some phone calls might be helpful. I'll put everything I know in the next entry.”
Dille later posted the phone numbers for all police officers assigned to the case.
He justified this decision by saying that “it is probably important that they receive a lot of calls. Roger is an important guy in comics and animation world. We want this to be as high profile as possible.” [Update, 4:15 p.m.: Santa Monica PD spokesman Richard Lewis says the department has “been getting calls from media across the country. The family's having the media call us, alleging we aren't doing anything.”]
The Santa Monica Daily Press reports that the victim “had spent the evening with friends at Rusty's Surf Ranch listening to music.” But when his party left the restaurant, “Slifer chose to stay a little longer.”
Slifer began his career as a member of 1970s fanzine collective “The CPL Gang” and assistant editor at Marvel Comics. After a long stint in comics and television, he had recently gotten into the videogame industry, according to an online bio.
One of his friends tells Robot6 that “he was working on a new project at the time of Saturday's incident.”
Oddly, another well-loved name in videogames — Brigitte Burdine — was killed last year in a hit-and-run accident just two beach towns down from Santa Monica, in Playa Del Rey. As far as we know, the LAPD has yet to find her killer.
Updates to come on the Slifer investigation as we receive them. Meanwhile, the Santa Monica Police Department is asking anyone with more information to contact Investigator Jason Olson at (310) 458-8954 or Sergeant Phillbo Rubish at (310) 458-8950.