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In memory: Family pays for comic books to honor son

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette An anonymous buyer paid for comics on hold for customers at Black Ice Comics, including the three pictured above.

HOUGHTON — People coming into Black Ice Comics recently to pick up the books they’d ordered found their orders had already been paid.

The good deed came courtesy of an anonymous buyer paying tribute to his son, a soldier with the U.S. Army who died in December while stationed in Texas.

The 25-year-old left behind a 7-year-old son and a wife, who is due to give birth to his daughter in May.

The soldier’s father, who wished to remain anonymous, was at the shop buying a gift for his daughter. When he saw the comics stuffed in the pull bins, he made an impromptu decision.

“I have been struggling with grief since my son’s passing and it just seemed like a good thing to do,” he said in an email. “I’ve never done anything quite like this before but I think it was good way to honor my son’s memory.”

Shana Porteen, owner of Black Ice, said she was stunned when the family told her what they wanted to do. Then she got emotional.

“I have such wonderful customers and they deserved this incredible generosity,” she said. “It was emotional for each of my customers when I gave them their books and explained the reason why they were already paid.”

Customers have given their thanks through cards and letters, some of them with original artwork.

“I can’t wait to take them to the donor,” Porteen said. “I’ve also had customers tell me this gracious act inspired them to think about doing their own acts of kindness.”

Patrick Walls of Hancock learned about the anonymous buyer after Porteen texted him. He had amassed a post-Christmas backlog of 30 to 40 comics, he said. His daughter was also excited to have her books paid for, he said.

“The generosity of the gentleman who did it was just amazing,” he said. “A lot of people like to go in there pretty regularly to get their comics.”

The comic-book link came naturally. Since he was a child, he’d been a fan of Superman, his father said. His grave marker bears the inscription “Man of Steel.”

“He was a good soldier in the Army who loved his wife, their son and their unborn daughter,” his father said. “Losing him two days before Christmas has been unbearable but I think he would be happy to know that he was part of this.”

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