Seb Patrick (1982-2020)

Ali Gray

2nd August 2020

I'm not sure where to even start when discussing the legacy left behind by writer, podcaster, contributor and friend of the site Seb Patrick, but I'll give it a go.

Tonight I received the tragic news that Seb Patrick, a prominent blogger and one-time contributor to this series of websites, had died suddenly from natural causes. He was 37, and is survived by his wife Jo and his young daughter Lois. It's really quite hard to believe that he has gone, but although the circumstances of his passing are undoubtedly heartbreaking, I am hopeful that Seb's family and friends can take some small solace in seeing just how loved he was by the members of the many communities of which he was a part.

Seb and I had a lot in common. We first met probably about 10 years ago or maybe more, at one of many film screenings we both attended. Seb, I would quickly learn, was a fan of comic-books and superhero movies. No, scratch that. Seb was an expert on comic-books and superhero movies. Rarely in the film industry do you meet someone who knows their stuff inside out who is also quite so humble, but Seb was one of those guys. He was one of my first follows on Twitter, and I think I've probably interacted with him over the past decade more than anyone else. He was always the first to contribute to fun Twitter games and answer questions, always on hand to dispense trivia, always witty and articulate, always reliable. Just yesterday, someone on my feed wanted to identify a Simpsons screengrab, and my sole contribution was to cc @SebPatrick to get his take, because I knew that a) if anyone was likely to know the answer it'd be him, and b) he'd relish the challenge. He never got a chance to respond.

We shared similar opinions on movies, those with capes and without, plus television, music and football. One of my favourite things about Seb was reading his tweets about Liverpool Football Club - another thing he was an expert on - and laughing at how he'd nervously respond to a less-than-emphatic win by suggesting doom and gloom was surely just around the corner, even as LFC were 25 points clear at the top of the table. Seb, like me, was a Liverpool supporter, and if you are too then you know that the last 30 years have conditioned us to believe that the familiar friend of disappointment is just around the corner, even in the face of glory. I am so happy that Seb got to see Liverpool win the Premier League. It is not insignificant. Football is one of those brilliant things that unites people no matter their class or social standing or background. You wouldn't necessarily think a Red Dwarf fan and avid comics reader would be into football, but that was Seb - he was a multi-faceted guy. He wrote about Liverpool for esteemed fanzine When Saturday Comes and spoke about the team with the same passion he'd pour into all of his hobbies and pastimes.

Seb and his fellow comic-book aficionado James Hunt were the perfect choice when it came to finding a pair of writers to run a Shiznit comic-book spin-off,, in 2014, back when we had the time and the inclination to try and expand the portfolio. When you have writers like Seb and James who understand an industry so completely, you really just step out of the way and let them go at it. Unfortunately we couldn't make it work in the long run, not for their lack of trying, but it was a pleasure to work with such a thoroughly nice pair of chaps, who brought such warmth and creativity to their work. I remain immensely proud to be associated with the writing they did, and although the Panel Beats domain and the site have long since expired, I am looking into finding a way to restore the work in some form if at all possible. I feel like I owe him that much at least.

It pains me to write about Seb in the past tense, it really does. His loss is a hard one to accept. I was not hugely close to him, yet through his work, his podcasts and his Twitter presence, it was a rare week in which I didn't interact with him in some way or another. One unexpected upside to Covid-induced lockdown has been the amplification of the feeling of community and connection that sites like Twitter can foster on a good day. God knows we all need a little of that right now. I can't remember the last time I met Seb in person, yet he was a daily source of entertainment to me and thousands of others online, and maybe I took that for granted. He epitomised the idea of an 'online friend' for me, but that feels too insignificant and dismissive a label, because an online friend is no less of a friend than any other, especially in the current circumstances. I was, and still am happy to call Seb Patrick my friend.

So, although I am sad and shocked by his sudden loss, I am content that even over the too-short time he was with us, Seb has left legacy enough behind. Websites. Web series. Movie reviews. Twitter accounts. Magazine articles. Fan communities. Hundreds and hundreds of podcast episodes. He left it all on the field, which is perhaps the reason so many of us feel like we knew him so well. I remain inspired by the sheer volume of Seb's creative pursuits and his boundless enthusiasm. And really, for a man as passionate and as caring and as funny as Seb, there was no nobler or more selfless thing he could do than share his talent with the rest of us. His daughter, Lois, will hopefully one day be able to read it all, and will see how loved he was. I have no doubt she'll continue his good work.

Rest in peace, Seb, and thanks.

Update: Please consider donating to this GoFundMe set up to support Seb's family.

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