When the creator of PopCultHQ passed away one week ago, the tragedy was felt by a great many people. Manny Popoca had touched many individuals through his kindness and generosity. Some were moved or inspired by his determination, his drive, and his passion for the pop culture world.
Through his 16 months running PopCultHQ, his writing for Movie Pilot, buying/selling/trading comic books in Facebook groups, the convention scene and on message boards, Manny left an impression on a great number of people. Just as we did with all the writers of PopCultHQ paying tribute to our founder, we wanted to give the pop culture & comic book communities the opportunity to say a few words, share a story, or simply express their gratitude for this man, this remarkable man, who had a positive influence in their lives. Here are words expressed by friends and acquaintances, from those submitted to PopCultHQ and on social media. The following will make every reader learn, realize, or believe Manny’s impact in the pop culture world, the comic book community, and the hearts of those he met.
“I remember rubbing nickels together and hustling for anyone to listen to me. Manny Popoca was the first to do so. He gave me an outlet to speak about my projects when no one gave a shit. Kind and gracious, he was the first to show up at the booth and the last to leave. Genuinely interested in all things creative. We spoke last week about the future. His writing, all the things he wanted to accomplish, stories he wanted to tell, places he wanted to see. I’m glad I got to thank him for his generosity and energy. My heart goes out to his family.”
“DAHUNTERMANNY…..what can I say?? Back in the early 2000’s I got really hardcore in to collecting McFarlane Toys sports picks and other action figures. I was part of a community of collectors on the Spawn.com message boards and a lot of us became great friends and even considered each other brothers. Manny Popoca was a good person and during my time of my first round of my separation, he offered an ear to listen to whatever it was I was going through. After years and years and countless hours online chatting on the message boards, I finally got to put a face to the name during, I believe, SDCC ’09. Being that he lived in the Midwest, that was the last time I saw him but the communication was still there. He shared his love for comic books and everything pop culture and wrote for Movie Pilot before moving on to starting his own thing over at PopCultHQ. I remember him asking me for advice since I had started The Nerd Initiative and that was actually the last time we communicated. It shocking to hear that we have lost someone who is part of a growing community and someone who has impacted many lives. Sucks that I don’t have a picture with the guy but rest in peace brother. Prayers go out to Manny’s family, his wife Jessica Popoca and his two children. You will be missed bro.”
“Miss you more then you know my friend! I will never forget you going out of your way to help me when I was down and out! Look over all of us!”
“In a market place with an ever-changing climate of material, competiveness, and constant productivity, Manny was one of the few always positive and neutral people in the industry of pop culture. It was a pleasure to work with him and help bring his ideas to reality. He always supported everyone’s work and rose above controversy and I think it’s a direct link because of his love for the industry. I’ll never forget his appreciation and enthusiasm for our work.”
“Manny inspired me and opened my eyes to seeing that anything in life can be achieved if you work hard enough and dream big. I always wanted to try and go to film school, now I KNOW I’ll be going to film school to see if I’m passionate about it. He showed me its not that hard for doors to open, and being a fellow Latino I look forward to pursuing that dream if I find passion in it.”
“I met Manny Popoca on a toy message board in the early 2000’s. We were able to meet in Detroit for the festivities of Superbowl XL. In 2009, I was able to finally meet him and his beautiful wife, Jessica, at San Diego Comic Con. While I have not missed an SDCC since, it was the last time I got to be with Manny until this year, when I saw him at a Chicago con. It was nice to catch up, but Manny was on a mission.
Manny had found his calling by starting his own Entertainment website and following with PopCultHQ. Manny built it from the ground up with nothing more than love, sweat, and tears. I am sad that he has left. But one of his last posts was very powerful and inspirational”:
“I‘m not rich, I’m not famous but I sure am happy as hell to say, I built me. Never give up on dreams, just focus and work harder.” –Manny Popoca
Ryan Grandinetti :
“I hope that you found your peace”
“Not all of us are blessed to find our calling in life. And you were able to find that and got to enjoy it with your family and friends. I am honored that you wrote an article about my granddaughter (Halloween Kids Cosplay) and was able to share this with my family and friends. And I know she will enjoy it when she grows up. Gone way too soon.”
“Although I didn’t know him very long, we had become friends very fast. He was a guy who you can’t sum up in a few words; he was just an awesome human being. And his passion for what he did and loved was amazing. And he believed in me and what I’m trying to do and I couldn’t be more appreciative of that. He is adored by so many and it’s hard to say bye to a friend, but he will live on by everyone who knew, and remembers, him. And I think I can speak for all of us when I say he was one of the best and will never be forgotten.”
“It was in the fall of last year that I received a message from some guy at PopCultHQ. He talked about having Insane Comics, LLC being a partner with him on his new venture.
In February of this year, I had the opportunity to meet Manny Popoca in person at a convention. We spent a good amount of time talking about PopCultHQ and Insane Comics – where each of us had come and where we would like to go. He was a visionary! And he was a very good friend to Insane Comics and all of its creators. Rest well my friend. Rest well.”
“R.I.P old friend. I enjoyed our times. Throwing the football behind your old place. The endless hours of driving around Illinois chasing McFarlanes, Hot Wheels, comics and action figures. Going to the comic cons, endless nights of trading stuff and eating very well at your parents’ store. You’ll be missed but never forgotten. Hopefully we will cross paths again in the afterlife. Goodbye Manny Popoca, God bless you.”
“He helped me a lot when I decided to get back into collecting. He worked tirelessly to enhance our favorite form of media. The man was a blessing to our hobby, and his presence will be greatly missed.”
“Manny said something to me right around the time we started trading [comic books].
‘If I can tell you one thing, it’s follow your dreams. It may seem a bit scary at first, but sometimes it’s best to do what your heart wants and live life knowing you did it your way and no one else’s.’
I’m paraphrasing here but 95% is all Manny. He was a great guy and everyone he talked to he was able to connect with on a personal level. The world needs more Mannys.”
“My first Facebook trade in a [comic book] group was with Manny…we exchanged like 300+ dollars worth of comics, statues, G.I. Joe’s, graphic novels; it was like 4 boxes… all on our words and nothing else…man, he was a stand up guy”
“We at UWS Comics want to send our most sincere condolences to the friends and family of Manny Popoca. A true loss for all of us in the comic world and beyond.”
“Yesterday (Sunday) we lost one of our own, Manny Popoca. A brilliant and great guy who had a passion for what we all love: Comics, toys and everything related. I’m at a loss for words so all I will say is he will be greatly missed. RIP Manny.”
“You are the reason I got back into comics, you and you only. Through your passion, mine was made anew. You touched my life without ever meeting me, that’s what made you special. I cant believe this has happened but i want to say you will be missed and my condolences to your family.”
“Your passion and love for comics will be missed by myself and everyone at My Happy Place Comics. RIP my friend”
“Manny Popoca was a great friend to so many people in comics and all over the world. He truly believed in me and my abilities in comics and he was always so positive and such a pleasure to talk to. This is horrible news. Hug your friends and family. Show them love. Life is too fucking short. I’ll miss you Manny. Love you buddy.”
“Back in the early 2000’s, I collected Sports action figures and joined an online message board on Spawn.com. One of the first people I started talking to was a guy who went by the name DAHUNTERMANNY. Soon, a group of us started helping each other out with our collections and formed a nice, close brotherhood. I thought one day I would like to meet these guys face-to-face. Lo and behold in 2009, I took a 10-day vacation across the Midwest driving to meet these guys as well as visit Michigan (my home state).
I flew into Milwaukee and drove down to Woodstock, IL where I met Manny Popoca face-to-face for the first time, even though we had been friends online for years. It was an instant brotherhood solidified. Manny and I had a great time taking the train to Chicago to see the White Sox and to eat at the famous Potbelly’s.
This morning (Sunday) I woke up to find that my dear friend had passed. I don’t know the details but I do know that Manny was a brother to me and we spent many hours taking about everything and nothing.
Over the past year he found his calling in writing. He would write on Pop Culture and was very good at it. So good that he was able to form http://popculthq.com and http://www.facebook.com/popculthq. This was his passion and he put everything into it and was so proud.
Manny leaves behind a beautiful wife Jessica Popoca, and two loving kids Jordan and Zack. My heart breaks for the entire Popoca family. Please take a moment and check out Manny’s work and enjoy what he was passionate about. You will be missed my Brother!!!”
“Manny you will be missed. Thanks for all the Cons. May you be writing comics in the eternal light.”
“I am shocked. I am sad. I don’t understand this. Dude… I was JUST talking to you. We had fucking plans! You can’t leave now, there’s so much left to do. Love you, brother.”
“My God, this is so sad…. I mean, Manny and I were just talking to one another this past Saturday (6/18)….I mean, he just did a review on my comic book, JUDAS BREED, and we were laughing about how he screwed up the names of the artist on the book….I am so sad right now…I’m in tears my friend, loss of words…”
“It’s with a heavy heart that I share that a student of Ignite Woodstock has passed. Our sincerest condolences to Manny Popoca‘s family, friends and fellow writers. He was an incredible person with a huge heart, talent and a wealth of courage to share his experiences. Sadly, we will miss him. We send his family strength and love through this extremely difficult time.”
“It’s never an easy thing when you find out one of your friends is gone for good. On the Spawn boards, you were known as DAHUNTERMANNY, but to the SDCC crew, you were our ‘Spicy Sausage.’ Manny Popoca, you were one of us. I’m glad we had SDCC with our crew and I thank you so much for being such a kind friend and helping my daughter through the cosplay interview you did for your website. I’m thankful we were friends. Rest easy, my friend.”
“He was a personal friend of mine, and I’m shocked at hearing of his passing. He had a passion for comic books and pop culture. He was living his dream of being a professional writer. He was an influential figure in the pop culture media world. And he was a great guy to know. Rest in peace Manny Popoca.”