Carl Macek (1951-2010)

Mutual friend Bob Cabeen has just informed me of the passing of my former business partner Carl Macek. Carl died of a heart attack on Saturday.

Among his many accomplishments Carl created Robotech, co-founded Spumco with John K. and co-founded Streamline Pictures (Akira, Fist of the North Star, Laputa, etc.) with me.

Carl began his career doing grassroots promotional work on sci-fi films such as Star Wars and Alien, and worked for numerous industry icons including Dino Di Laurentiis and Ivan Reitman. He wrote the book The Art of Heavy Metal (Animation for the Eighties) in 1981. In 1984, Macek began his long association with Japanese animation. He worked with Harmony Gold, U.S.A. to develop the groundbreaking anime series ROBOTECH that has been credited with igniting the anime movement in the US. After his stint at Harmony Gold, Macek moved on to work for D.I.C. and Bill Kroyer’s studio.

In 1988, Macek divided his time between forming Spumco with John K. and partnering with me to create Streamline Pictures. In 1990, after helping sell Ren & Stimpy to Nickelodeon, Macek parted with Spumco to develop Streamline Pictures full time. Streamline imported and dubbed anime features for US movie theaters, for television showings and home video for over a decade. One of his most enduring projects during this period was producing the original English-language dub of the Miyazaki classic My Neighbor Totoro.

In the late 1990’s, Macek returned to original animation production and was instrumental in developing several projects (Heavy Metal 2000 and Lady Death). Most recently, he has adapted, produced and directed English—language versions of Tomino’s classic 49-episode fantasy Aura Battler Dunbine. He also adapted numerous Japanese anime for the North American market including Naruto and Bleach.

Carl had been working on a slate of original projects as well, including War Eagles, a novel and screenplay inspired by Merian C. Cooper’s unproduced film treatment. Some of his recent science fiction short stories can be read at storyleap.com.

Carl had his critics. But one thing is certain: the popularity of anime in the North America would not be where it is today without Macek’s groundbreaking work on Robotech and his efforts on behalf of Streamline Pictures.

The photo above (with Ed Asner) was taken recently on the set of Audrey, where his wife, Svea, was costume supervisor. Below is a video of Carl at a recent anime convention (January 2010) in San Francisco discussing what he’s been up to recently.


  • http://www.itsthecat.com Mark Kausler

    It’s so hard to believe that Carl’s gone. I hadn’t seen him for years, but always admired his eternally young attitude and bustling creativity. I’ve never shared his enthusiasm for anime, but he was definitely anime’s American mid-wife. If it hadn’t been for Carl, we probably wouldn’t have those great Manga translations of Tezuka to read today. We Ren and Stimpy fans owe him a great debt of gratitude for helping to sell the series. I had no idea he was writing short science fiction tales for the Internet, another example of his irrepressible creative energy. My sympathies go out to his wife Svea, Carl will be missed, there are few people with his rare combination of creativity and the ability to promote creative projects and people. Rest in peace, young space scout.

  • http://guyhatesyou.blogspot.com Superdeformed

    RIP Uncle Carl.

  • George Manley

    At a time when I was breaking into the business, Carl was one part mad scientist and one part guiding light and mentor. I suppose the truly great ones can’t be one without the other. I walked into a group walla session for Aura Battler Dunbine and walked out with war stories from the industry that will stick with me until I’ve done something wonderful. There have been a lot of people I put up on pedestals over the years, and Carl was one of the only ones who kept stepping off to give me a hand… and you just can’t say that about everyone.

    Godspeed, Carl.

    GM

  • http://www.feitclub.com feitclub

    Thanks for the overview of Carl’s life. I had no idea he was involved with Spumco. To think, I only owed him my interest in Japanese animation (and by extension, Japan). Turns out he played a major role in shaping my view of animation PERIOD.

  • http://www.brucelewis.com Bruce Lewis

    A tragic loss. Those of us who worked on ROBOTECH in its various forms over the years owe him a debt of gratitude. May he rest in peace.

    Bruce Lewis
    ROBOTECH: INVID WAR AFTERMATH (1993-1995)

  • Eric

    I was one of the millions of kids glued to their television set in the 80s for Robotech. I can safety say without Carl, I would not have stumbled my way into the rabbit hole of anime. I’m grateful I had a chance to meet him at AOD and express my gratitude to him. Thanks Carl.

  • High-Minded Civilian

    I have my (very strong) issues with Robotech. Whether or not he was simply “doing his job,” the way that show was put together and the manner in which Macek went on about it was beyond disrespectful to the original Japanese creators. I’m not fond of how he attempted to remove any Japanese culture elements he could.

    That said, I most likely wouldn’t be the anime fan I am without his contributions. And he was clearly a very productive and motivated enthusiast of animation, who really did care about bringing anime to a wider audience. My sympathies to his friends and family.

  • http://johnsforbiddenplanet.blogspot.com/ John Field

    Carl’s passing is a good warning to all high strung types. He died way too young. Take the time to relax, don’t judge too harshly, be appreciative to those who have a genuine interest in what you are doing.
    The few times I spoke with Carl, he always seemed to be ready to explode. Not in a nasty way, in a overly active way. I remember him at a Creation Con selling animation items. I bought two of those wonderful animation cells of Daffy and Porky that he was selling from the Bob Clampett studios. They remain proudly displayed on my wall.
    Carl was indeed a character and contributed greatly to a lot of people’s first exposure to Anime.
    Please people, stop and smell the roses before you lay under them.

  • http://www.robotech.com Alois Fisher

    Thanks for the info, i am so sad, my condolences… I´ll miss him so much! He was a great profesional, but a wonderful person… I lost a friend but i´ll get him forever in my heart!

  • Chris Sobieniak

    So sad. His efforts in the anime fandom will be missed.

  • Kristjan

    RIP

  • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NCRowanCountyanime/ Robert Clyde Allen

    I am greatful for the work that Carol Macek did for anime . It is sad this happen in the same year as Robotech 25 th Anniversary . We will miss him. If not for Carol work it take many years before we got this far as anime fandom growing.
    Artist Robert Clyde Allen
    Co-President NC Rowan County Anime Group

  • Lloyd Carter

    As an anime fan and convention organizer, I am saddened by the loss of Carl Macek. The shows produced by him in the 80′s and 90′s help to popularize Japanese animation in the United States. He will be missed.

  • http://sir-talen.deviantart.com/ Royce

    While Mr. Macek had his detractors in the hard-core (ie: blindly obsessive) anime community, there’s no denying he bore a lot of the responsbility for making anime popular here in the United States. Robotech wasn’t the first anime series I was a fan of (I suppose that should go to Star Blazers, Speed Racer or even Aqua Boy or Kimba) but it was certainly the first one that I was aware of being a Japanese import, and turning me on to animation produced outside of the United States with adult storylines.

    You’ll be missed, Carl

  • Bill Field

    Jerry, you introduced me to Carl ten years ago, and he was truly a force of nature, he seemed propelled by his loves and passions but that was combined with vision of how it can all come together and work to advance an entire medium. I’m sad that life is so short, but Carl’s life, passion and legacy will endure and influence generations to come.

  • http://bobbergen.com Bob Bergen

    Carl (and Jerry) were the first to ever hire me to do voice work in anime. I cut my teeth on these films, and truly enjoyed every minute. I made an appearance this past weekend at a fan convention in Anaheaim and much of the items folks asked me to sign were from my Streamline films, in particular the Lupin films. I will always be grateful to both Carl and Jerry! I’d recently reconnected with Carl via Facebook. So sad! He will be missed!

  • startstop

    Carl Macek, unfortunately, gets a lot of guff from anime fans. Which is understandable- the debate between subs and dubs has been prevailent for decades. I’m sorry to hear that he is gone though- last I heard, he was STILL up and working, as part of the crew dubbing Bleach.

    What I am more surprised by is…… YOU helped found Spumco and Streamline??! I really need to read bios more.

  • http://www.joestrike.com Joe Strike

    Sad news to start the week with, Carl passing away *way* before his time. Never knew the man myself, but condolences to all who did.

  • Rick

    Condolences… I knew of him, and sorry to hear of his passing.

  • Steve Gattuso

    Very sad to hear. For those of us at a certain age, Macek’s work was probably the trigger to get us interested in animation from Japan. I know he was certainly one of my first contacts with it, and I thank him for it.

    As for the complaints about what he did to create “Robotech,” compared to most of the prior efforts (like turning “Gatchaman” into “Battle of the Planets”), his work was steps above that.

  • John O’Donnell

    Carl will be greatly missed by his friends in the anime community. He was a wonderful teacher to many of us, and never held back from sharing his expertise, even with his competitors. I am personally grateful to him for the time he spent to bring me up to speed on animation in general, and anime in particular. His legacy is strong, and his impact is wide. A truly creative and gifted individual.

  • http://tillmyhands.blogspot.com Anoniguy

    Mr. Macek received such a bum rap from anime fans who don’t understand what a service he performed for them by creating Robotech and getting it aired at all.

    He was a good guy, and we’re poorer without him. What a shame.

  • http://neville6000.deviantart.com Neville A. Ross

    Now my chance to get my Art Of Robotech book signed will never happen…damn!

    This guy helped me to see that cartoons could be so much more, and now he’s gone.

    See you later, Carl.

    (imagines a 21-gun salute, followed by a ‘missing man’ formation flypast of VF-1′s, while the Robotech theme plays.)

  • http://cherylchasevoices.com Cheryl Chase

    I am a voice over actress and one of the best things I ever did was working with Jerry and Carl on My Neighbor Totoro where I played little Mei. It was such a great experience. Carl will be missed in the industry for sure…my heart goes out to his wife and family.

  • ROB SHAW

    It’s funny how so many figures who are behind so much inspiration are often unknown to me until they are gone. Everything he was behind stands out as a milestone in steering me towards animation. RIP.

  • http://gallery.me.com/stsparky Alan

    Had lunch with him on the 15th. But didn’t recognize him at all. He befriended me on facebook Friday.

    Worked at the Westwood American Comic Book Co Store for him.

    I’m very sad.

  • Rick Sternbach

    Jerry – Sorry to hear of Carl’s passing. Right or wrong about -how- Macross was presented as Robotech, he certainly contributed to people thinking about and talking about anime.

  • http://www.mcconnohie.com Michael McConnohie

    In anime terms, Carl was a god … period. Without him, there would have been no American version of Robotech or anything else that followed. The fact is the existence of the American market is what drove the “Japanese cartoons” to grow into the billion-dollar anime industry they are today. My years working with Carl on the Streamline films have marked me indelibly — I’m STILL autographing Vampire Hunter D vids. I’m glad I was able to see him, hug him, and share a smile a few weeks ago. Big ol’ Macek-shaped hole in the world right now…

  • VGREER

    Man my brother and I were *obsessed* with Robotech in the 80′s, and thanks to a 24 hour cartoon channel in Alaska, we got to watch it several times a day, every day! I hope he realized how many people enjoyed the story he crafted.

  • http://thadkomorowski.com Thad

    I’m very sad to hear of Carl’s sudden passing. I enjoyed meeting Carl earlier this year and thought he was quite a character. My condolences to his wife and family.

  • http://www.shawcartoons.com Scott Shaw!

    This is utterly shocking news, but thanks for posting it, Jerry. Carl and I had been friends since in the mid-70s before his animation career began, when he and I managed the retail shops owned by the American Comic Book Company (he managed the Westwood store and I did the same with the shop in Studio City not far from Hanna-Barbera) owned by longtime funnybook dealers David T. Alexander and Terry Stroud. “Rupe”(Carl’s nickname back then) and I even co-wrote a story for Larry Shell’s 1977 BARN OF FEAR COMIX, a funny animal horror comic starring a penguin cartoonist named “Tux Aviary”. Carl — who was not only talented but who possessed a hilarious gift of hyperbole (he once told me that “although ROBOTECH had already been created, he would have created it on his own exactly the same”!) — also wrote a huge and seminal book on film noire. When he started working with Charlie Lippencott, I distinctly remember astounding information he would leak to me about an upcoming film called STAR WARS; he specifically mentioned a never-realized “blue milk” STAR WARS tie-in product! Carl was a uniquely eccentric guy and I liked him very much. My sincere condolences go out to his family.

  • Dan Riba

    I have very fond memories of working with Carl at DIC in the 80′s. I remember him being warm and kind, but mostly I remember him being very open to the thoughts, ideas, and opinions of the artists on the show. Most animation factories at the time kept the artists and writers apart, and the work showed it. His attitude and openness was rare in animation at that time, and it was very welcome.

    My heartfelt condolences go to his family.

  • George Greene

    I got the News on my facebook page late last night I known Carl since 89 as we met at WonderCon in Oakland CA one weekend . I talked to him most of the weekend and at every convention after. He was happy that was working the tables for AnimEigo at the first US con in the Bay area and I was shocked that he knew me enough to always come say hi .
    We would debated tons of some of his ideas on why he did his show the what he did but we both agreed he was getting new fans to watch anime and open doors. Fred Patten last I talked to him before his stroke talk the years with Carl and you could hear the love for Carl’s tenacity for doing his work with anime. Many fans love his work as many I will say “had issues” with his work.. but today you will not see that posted any place as I can see that Many fans see him had the one that made Doors open and as a Fan and some work behind the scenes in the anime industry and with the many early conventions ..We have Carl all to thank for his work. Shin Kurokawa has great post on his Facebook page I ask all to go by and read it. I talked to Robert Woodhead early this morning he was sadden at Carl;s passing as he always respected him. I have not talk to Fred patten yet but any one has i would like to know how he is and hope he is well .. i know he will feel our lost of Carl very deeply as well.

    Farewell Carl

  • Juan Alfonso

    My condolences to his family and friends.I met Carl at the San Diego Comicons I attended.While I didn’t know him well,I’m grateful for the work he did.

  • Raul

    I remember Carl fondly.
    I first met him the first time I came to LA in the comic shop he had in Fullerton and kept in touch trough the years.
    He will be missed.

  • Kent Butterworth

    Very sad news. I’ve known & worked with Carl for several decades (since “Robotech:the Sentinels” days) Carl was extremely talented and a really decent human being (a rare combination). His concept for the Robotech Saga; a multi-generational Sci-Fi epic; was years ahead of it’s time. I chatted with Carl at the Paperback Book Show in Granada Hills last month. Glad I did. Condolences to Svea.
    So long, Carl – we’ll miss you.

  • Tom S

    This anime fan respects greatly his contributions to anime. Streamline Pictures brought great films like Barefoot Gen and Akira to American audiences along with his contributions to the Robotech universe will not be forgotten. His impact is greater than the four friends from State College, PA that created Otakon after going to the first Anime East or the people who created Anime Expo.

  • http://www.speedracer.com Jim Rocknowski

    After 2-3 years of being out of touch with Carl, he called me last week and wanted me to come in for an interview for a Robotech retrospective he was working on with Tommy Yune. I said “for sure” just let me know when and where”. Carl said I was instrumental in getting him into the Robotech project. But all I did was wander into his comic book store one day in 1984 looking for some Macross cels for references. I was working for Harmony Gold. We were looking for a project. We liked Macross but had no idea what to do with it. After shooting the breeze with Carl for 5 minutes, I knew I had to set up a meeting with him and my Dad, John Rocknowski who ran Harmony Gold with Agrama back then.

    Carl came in for the meeting and the rest, as they say, is history.

    I am still in shock as I have just heard about this.

    Rest well my Macross brother, I cut my animated teeth with you and we had a lot of fun that I’ll never forget.

    Jim

  • Doug Baughman

    I still remember four years ago when I wan invited to a cast & crew screening of the newest Robotech movie. Being invited was exciting enough – Carl Macek sitting behind me was absolutely surreal. Thanks for the memories, and throwing together a little cartoon that’s had a huge impact on my career and friendships to this day.

  • zrdb

    I think that I’ll best remember him as the person who indirectly got me into anime 15 years ago with the Streamline Video dub of The Dirty Pair-Affair On Norlandia.

  • http://sklabah.livejournal.com -Nas

    I met Carl when I was a pre-teen at a comic shop in California. He signed my Robotech Art 1, bantered with my Mom for a minute, and was a pleasure to meet, as enamored as I was with Robotech at the time. (I still am!) I got to see him introduce Akira at SD Comic Con a few years later, and it blew my mind, reintroducing me to anime and all it had to offer. I can’t really express how melancholy this news makes me…seeing Carl in the video above, chatting with fans and still being enthused but self-deprecating…the man had a tremendous impact on my youth, and on my current interests. My condolences to his family, and my thanks to Carl for his passion and work. To the Stars…

  • http://www.anime-101.com Glenn Schmall

    Back in 2000, in an interview with Carl, I asked what he would like to remembered for.

    Carl’s first answer to this question was, ‘Being a good husband’. When I pressed, he admitted that in the anime community, he would like to be remembered as the Johnny Appleseed of anime.

    “If my stuff got them involved, even if they like someone else’s better that is great. If I’ve done that then I’ve done something.”

    Mission accomplished Carl. You’ll be missed.

  • http://redshoulder.deviantart.com/gallery/ Marc McKenzie

    I never met Carl in person, but this is still a shock, a gut punch. Like many commenters, I got into anime via ROBOTECH, and I still regard the show highly as an adult all these years later. It changed a lot of things in my life including igniting my own desire to be an artist and work in animation.

    He helped to bring about so much in not just in anime fandom but in just the appreciation of animation itself. And no matter what some deluded, angry purist says, ROBOTECH was better than most TV shows back then and even now.

    He really was American anime’s Johnny Appleseed; more importantly, he threw open the door and guided a lot of through.

    Thanks, Carl Macek. You will be missed, but not forgotten.

  • TheVok

    No, Robotech is not better than most TV shows now (try rewatching it … I did recently when the reruns aired here in Canada on Space), but it was incredibly important at the time, far more epic and serious than any of the kids’ shows surrounding it.

    I hesitate to call entrepreneurs like Carl Macek ‘producers’ of anime, but that in no way minimizes how key his role was in building the market for anime in North America. I was just as blown away by the theatrical release of Akira in 1990 as I had been by Robotech on TV. And I gave copies of that Totoro VHS release to families and every kid was immediately hooked.

    I pretty much only watch anime with subtitles now, but back then, our options were very limited.

  • James

    I never new Carl, never met him, never have seen him. I was not necessarily a huge anime fan. I was a little boy when I saw Speedracer and it was not new then. I remember seeing Starblazers when it first launched and it is one of my all time favorites. I did not know these were anime at the time but they stayed with me to this day for some reason. Later, came Robotech. It touched me in the same way as those early animes and I still love it. This was animation with a grown up feel and adult themes. It led me to everything Robotech; comics, toys, models, and RPG games. It was here that I first knew of Carl. He was the name on the game books and later the name on the VHS and DVDs. I pursued Robotech like no other anime before or since. I bought it all. I remember Streamline and the “Perfect Collection”. I wanted anything and everything to add to my Robotech experience. Even now I look for new items to add to that collection. 25 years and I owe it all to Carl. Reading the other stories, I realize Carl was there along the way when I didn’t even know it. Akira, Heavy Metal, Lady Death, My Neighbor Totoro, Fist of the North Star, Bleach. I have watched all of these at one time or another but was never such the fanatic that I looked into who was responsible.
    Carl’s passing is a blow to the industry that will be hard to withstand. In learning of it I was only able to say “Wow”. He will be missed.

  • Shannon Moore

    Wow, hard to believe he’s gone! I interned with Streamline Pictures for a few months back in 1994, right around the the time of the Northridge earthquake (in fact, I had to put their tape vault back together as everything crashed to the floor).

    I credit Carl and Streamline for introducing me to Japanese anime. His employees kept sending me home with anime screeners, and I finally watched Vampire Hunter D and Akira, both of which are still favorites of mine today.

    I’ll also never forget the 7 foot Akira statue in the front office of Streamline, the model makers in the back warehouse (wish I had taken up their offer to get free Japanese anime models, but I had no idea of their value back then), and the real, working, actual metal Ghostbusters ghost trap on a shelf in Carl’s office.

    My love of Japanese anime grew from him and Streamline, and continues to this day.

    RIP, Carl!

  • Raymond Chuang

    Yes, there were some anime “purists” that had a lot of qualms about Macek creating ROBOTECH out of the original Macross TV series, but you cannot deny the fact Macek was a huge pioneer in opening the Japanese anime (and the related manga) culture to Americans during the 1980′s. It was Macek’s work that made Americans start exploring Japanese anime and manga, and as such Americans discovered the work of many famous mangaka in Japan. Indeed, it was that discovery by Americans that in 2010 the most famous mangaka in Japan like Eiichiro Oda (One Piece), Hiro Mashima (Rave Master and Fairy Tail), Rumiko Takahashi (too many great manga series to list!) and many others are now fairly well-known outside Japan.

    Thanks Mr. Macek–you truly opened our eyes to a truly amazing entertainment culture that otherwise we would have missed.

  • David Armstrong

    I am just blown away by the news. I met Carl through Charlie Lippincott in the 70s and worked with Carl on a couple of projects – renting posters from his movie collection for displays at Seattle’s Space Needle and selling Streamline the rights to Robotech (remember that Jerry?) when All American TV was representing Harmony Gold! I saw Carl at a show in Pasadena when he had moved to Texas (which surprised me) during his time at ADV and ran into him about 3 years ago in San Diego. I will certainly miss his cock-sure attitude and wealth of knowledge about movies, comics, manga and anime – a true shame.

  • Jens-Peter Johannsen

    I am very sorry that Carl has left us, Jerry…I very fondly remembering acquiring and releasing AKIRA her in Germany 20 years ago…and shall cherish the AKIRA cells you gave to me back then…I hope that all is well with you, Jerry, and I am just sorry that Carl had to leave us so young…

  • http://epochinkanimation Joe Pearson

    Jerry, thanks so much for posting this.

    I just found out the news and am still in a state of shock

    I just spoke with him on Friday and he sounded great. Talking a mile a minute, full throttle. And now he’s gone…

    Carl’s been a dear friend and a creative partner on various projects with me, since 1987 where I first met him and Svea at a mutual friend’s wedding.

    His quick mind and impassioned creativity was always and inspiration for me and a challenge to sometimes keep up.

    We partnered on Railrunners, seeing that mutual dream through various developments and writing its feature script together. I cheered from the sidelines as he grew Streamline into a first class distributor and home for many young creatives. A trip to the Streamline Santa Monica office was always an adventure.

    Carl was “on top of the world” in those days and he was gracious and kind in his success. Later, when he was savagely ripped off during the sale of Streamline and its assets, he took that in stride, never losing his friendly enthusiasm and positive energy.

    Now he’s gone and a world without Carl is a smaller, quieter place.

  • Tracey Weiss

    I fell in love with Robotech in the 1980′s, even though I’d seen plenty of orignial anime from Japan. What Carl did for anime in this country cannot be denied. I met him a year or so after it was released and we struck up a friendship. He gave my husband and me a gorgeous Robotech animation cel for a wedding present and I will treasure it always. I just saw him at ComicCon in 2009 and now that will be the last picture and memory I have of my friend. My heart is broken. Not only for me but for Svea and anyone else who knew him. I’ll miss you Carl.

  • Jerry Dandridge

    Carl Macek and Robotech was before my generation, yet I’ve heard of the man’s role in distributing anime in the US during the 1980′s.

    However, something about Carl Macek has been bothering me whenever I read or watch an interview from him.

    Has he ever acknowledged the Japanese creators for Super-Dimensional Fortress Macross? Any mention of Shoji Kawamori, Noboru Ishiguro, Haruhiko Mikimoto, etc.? For a man that’s made his career off of anime, I find it strange that he doesn’t mention the staff who was reponsible for Macross, which played a major part in Macek’s Robotech.

  • Scott

    Carl will be missed heavily. He was such a big influence in anime. R.I.P. Carl.

  • Rooniman

    Oh boy…. not another one gone…

  • http://www.mikechenwriting.com Mike C

    I remember the original promo for Robotech on San Francisco’s Channel 44. Just a few quick clips of some new show with jets and robots. I didn’t know the proper name for the animation style as a seven-year-old, but I recognized that it was similar to StarBlazers and Voltron. That was my introduction to Robotech, and even now, I regularly visit the universe Carl created.

    The people who demean Carl Macek’s work fail to see two very key things: 1) His passion was bringing the artform of anime to as many people possible despite the logistical and practical limitations of the time 2) The gall and effort and sheer madness necessary to write a storyline as intricate as the entire Robotech saga is a rare thing of beauty. Creativity and passion of that sort should be celebrated, warts and all.

    If only we could get a peek at the parallel universe where Carl Macek, Robotech, and Streamline didn’t exist, perhaps then anime fandom would truly understand the gift this man gave to us. For me, it’s watching Akira in the theater as a teen, writing fan mail begging for The Sentinels to be completed, devouring any piece of Robotech literature possible in the 1990s, and even today when I watch Cowboy Bebop reruns. All of that is due to his work.

    Carl Macek was at a convention a few months ago in San Francisco. I skipped it due to family commitments, and I’m going to regret that one forever. Rest in peace, friend.

  • Duane Capizzi

    I first met Carl when he worked at the American Comic Book Company in Studio City. I was probably about 14, really wanted to buy a one-sheet of Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch hanging in there. I think it was marked 20 bucks and Carl let this sweet nerdy kid (me) have it for 15 (all the money I had in my pocket). Some ten or so years later, I found myself in a conference room with the same Carl Macek, now producer of Robotech, with a dozen or so sci-fi novelists. I was there on a mutual friend’s recommendation, to receive a writing assignment on Robotech II: The Sentinels (for which the indefatigable Carl Macek wrote all 65 story outlines, to hand out to writers to script!). Soon after, I found myself doing “multiples” because Carl somehow saw a spark in me, that I might somehow deliver the goods as well as his more seasoned pros. The point, aside from being forced by this all too sad circumstance to remember that I met Carl for the first time twice, is that Carl was incredibly generous. I went on to be his assistant at Harmony Gold for a short stretch, as he attempted to get the next phase of Robotech airborne. A time fraught with frustrations, but Carl couldn’t be stopped — knocked down, he got right back up and came at the problem from a different angle, again and again. His energy was boundless, and he was creatively fearless. He also had impeccable taste — whether waxing poetic about this or that obscure film noir, or on full display when I visited the mind-blowing mid-century house he and Svea owned (which inspired me to want to live in one like it “when I grew up”). I was probably looking for a father figure at the time, and Carl wasn’t quite that — he was a little too “self-involved” (LOL, for those who knew him). But for a period, he was like a big brother I never had but would have wanted — who would fuel my hunger for film and comics and animation. As with so many people who are dear to me, I fell in and out of touch with Carl over the years, mostly out. That was my loss, and now everyone’s. Carl, you will be missed. Svea, deepest sympathies … I am so sorry.

  • Ryan Crouse

    This is really tragic news!Robotech Macross Saga aired around ’86 I remember waiting in front of the tv every friday, couldnt wait for Robotech to start.(must have been about 6 year old at the time) Purchased the protoculture series recently watched the entire saga again, amazing even now it doesnt look dated like some other series created after Robotech!

    Carl Macek you will be sorely missed! Thank you for everything!!

  • Mike Pasqua

    Like many others, I was shocked to see the passing of my old friend. Like Scott Shaw!, I first got to know Carl at ACBC and at a tribute to Edgar Rice Burroughs that was held at Cal State Fullerton. Through the years, Carl has always been a friend and a resource for me. There were several evenings when Carl allowed several us access to the cels used for Heavy Metal and he even gave me one as a gesture of friendship. I was one of the invited guests to his wedding to Svea and he signed my copy of the The Art Of Heavy Metal on his wedding day. Carl always had a wicked sense of humor that paralleled my own. During my tenure as program director at Comic Con, Carl created a slide show called “Bound To Please” which entailed this history of bondage in comics. I can’t tell you how much controversy we had over that. My last real contact with Carl was when I saw War Eagles in the bookstore at the Honolulu airport. It renewed my friendship and we maintained connections until the sad event. Another person who left this life way to early. Condolences to Svea.

  • http://www.cartoonresearch.com Jerry Beck

    A memorial service for Carl Macek will be held on Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 2pm at:

    Congregational Church of the Chimes
    14115 Magnolia Blvd.
    Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

    The service will be open to the public.

  • bbz

    Goodbye Carl..if it were not for you I would have never traveled the journey to this strange island.

    For those who knew nothing about Japanese animation you brought a new vision of SF to us. You Americanized anime for us to watch and that opened up a market that is enjoyed by younger generations after all these years. From Robotech to Harlock we all enjoyed your achievements.

    Thank you. RIP

  • Ernie Sheesley

    Although I’m late to read and write this, I feel compelled to tell people about actually working with Carl on his animae shows. I was his mixer for a lot of his Streamline productions. I’m not bragging but lucky enough to record and mix Crying Freeman, 8 Man After, Dirty Pair, Barefoot Gen,etc…. from 92-96. Also recently Naruto and Bleach 2009.
    Carl loved his animae. A true creative genius, he was always dedicated to getting the dialogue or the mix just right in his eyes. He would always say “yeah I get a lot of hate mail” (it was real mail then), but he had a vision for that particular production and wouldn’t give in to a popularity contest. He taught me how to mix in a cinematic way that no one else was doing. “Really immerse the audience in the ambience of the scene”. Just know that he always had the vision and the audiences best interest at heart. He picked his projects carefully. He did not go for the easy buck. “Barefoot Gen” is an example of a hard sell, who else would bring such a dramatic story and touchy subject to American audiences? He was about appreciating the art of whatever he worked on. There was a lot of junk that he passed on.
    I really enjoyed working with Carl, he taught me a lot. I spoke with him 2 weeks before this happend and he was just as excited as he always was about his new projects.
    Bon Voyage Carl, you are missed.