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Mike Crowley

The reason FBTB came to be. We don't forget our roots.

Mike Crowley

Postby Staff » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:46 am

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post. Mike Crowley aka Count Blockula has passed. I got wind of the news last night from Ryan via text message. I had just finished watching an episode of Homeland and rushed to my laptop to see for myself. I hit Facebook and saw this:


After the initial shock passed, I spent some time last night going through his flickr stream and his website (and you should too if you haven't yet) and I was reminded at how incredibly talented, wildly creative and gifted he was. I consider myself very lucky he became part of the FBTB family. He did some illustration work for the site; I'm pretty sure he was responsible for all of the avatars on the old forums site and he was also the illustrator for our short-lived Well Played comic.

Beyond his artistic ability though, his building talent set him apart as one of the best. I remember being awestruck at his minotaur:

minotaur w/ axe

He was a trailblazer in many ways when it came to LEGO. He was responsible for Brickfa, FOITSOP, and probably some other concepts that I can't remember right now. Do you remember Mike's Miniland? Well, you should:

fart joke FTW

He's got a ton of other great stuff in his photostream.

But beyond what he was able to do, it's his character that really made an impact. The details are fuzzy to me now and hopefully I'm not remembering things incorrectly but Mike was ill for almost all if not his entire life, fighting some form of lymphoma. And if there's one thing you should know about Mike it's that he never let that get in the way. He had a zest for life that most of us wish we had. Reading over the facebook messages left for him just solidifies that fact. He's touched everyone's life he's come into contact with. And he left us far too soon.

Knowing all that about Mike, there is one thing I will always remember him for and that's how much he loved his niece. He adored her. He would regale me with stories of the times he's spent with her watching old black and white Godzilla movies. Playing with Duplo. Eating popsicles. Spending the weekend together. I tear at the thought of how much she's going to miss her Uncle Mike. Everyone who's ever known him is right there with her though. Cue Michael Jackson's You Are Not Alone song. We're all going to miss him.

Peace, Mike. We love ya.
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Re: Mike Crowley

Postby Moodswim » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:07 pm

Wow. I am really saddened by this news. Not only was Mike a great builder who had a pretty big influence on me, but seemed like an honestly good guy. I hate to see the good ones go too soon. R.I.P.
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Re: Mike Crowley

Postby Chief » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:14 pm

Mike was the best. Aside from our online interactions I only ever saw him in person at BrickCon 2008. He helped me and Don run the first small BothCon. It was a blast. He was infectiously happy and a genius builder. It is unbelievably sad that he is gone.
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Re: Mike Crowley

Postby Firespray » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:25 pm

Was very shocked to hear the news last night, Mike was always such an extremely nice and talented guy. I remember first seeing his MOCs all the way back in the early 2000's when I first joined FBTB, more recently though, I still like to remember this exchange in the FBTB chat about 4 years ago:


Rest in peace my minifigga, we'll miss you Mike.
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Re: Mike Crowley

Postby Big C » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:30 pm

Truly a genius in so many ways. I know he'd be so pissed if he knew what a bunch of sad sacks we're being about his passing. The man turned EVERYTHING around into a happy, silly, and awesome moment.

Chris Giddens suggested to me earlier today that we should find a way to memorialize him using FOITSOP. I propose we all post tribute pictures on Flickr or wherever (LEGO or not), tagging them with FOITSOP. Saturday would have been his birthday, let's try to make the bulk of the posts on that day. And let's also make sure his best friend since 2nd grade, James, is aware of any tribute we may do for him.

EDIT: Just dug into my Flickr and found some pictures from when he came down here to Texas in mid-2006 and partied with me for one geektastic weekend.

Image ... a76b22.jpg ... 034232.jpg ... 6a1c9c.jpg ... 112444.jpg ... ab2349.jpg

And here's one from when we ran into Jared/Kaminoan and Matt/swlegonut at the Sci-Fi Expo: ... cad345.jpg

After that, we stopped at Toys R Us on the way home and bought Transformers. It was awesome.

EDIT 2: Here's one last picture. Ace mentioned how he did a ton of graphics work for FBTB back in the day. Mike was an incredible artist, and he was always more than happy to use his talents to make stuff for his friends. This is a Photoshop he did for me of my sig-ship, the Outlander V, in 2005. Still together after all these years. ... ff1600.jpg
Last edited by Big C on Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Big C
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Re: Mike Crowley

Postby Daz Hoo » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:55 pm

Mike was awesome in so many ways. Awesome builder, awesome graphic artist, awesome forum member, awesome debater (you had to have good arguments if you ever came to debate with this guy online), awesome example of courage and determination, awesome funny guy. And on top of that, the guy was wise WAY beyond his age.

I never met Mike in person, but he had such an impact here that I'm deeply saddened by his passing. I knew his health was fragile, but with his look upon life, I thought he would always make it back on his feet somehow, that someday, he would trully get better.

Personally, I will always remember him as Count Blockula, and for now on, you can bet that whenever I see a Vampire minifig, I'll think of Mike Crowley.
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Re: Mike Crowley

Postby DarkkosiS » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:37 pm

I'm sooo glad to see FBTB is throwing a tribute to 'Mikey', that's how I always called him when I was emailing him or PMing him.
I got the sad news via a post by Chris Malloy (Porschecm2) on Flickr, and right away I fired an email to Reto (aka Warhawk) telling him about the bad news, since we all three at one point were very close as brothers in the brick.
Michael was a very genuine person as being himself as he was talented through his online cheerful character Count-Blockula, I always regarded him as the Robin Williams of the LEGO community, genius and spontaneous.
I sent him a flickr email last night that I know he won't be able to read as a mortal, however hoping he'd be able to receive as an eternal spirit while schmoozing up there with the big guy himself. Until we meet again Mikey, have a great ball my friend.
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Re: Mike Crowley

Postby Jargon » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:42 pm

It's really hard to hear this. Mike was one of the first people on the internet I ever came to think of as a friend. His charm, his sparkle (no pun intended), and his humor were some of the high points of my experiences with the FBTB community. What a great guy.

RIP Mike
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Re: Mike Crowley

Postby Walter Boy » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:52 pm

I am very sorry to hear this news. I offer my most sincere condolences and I will keep his family in my prayers.

I never knew Mike personally or even interacted with him online, but I've always known who he was for his work here on the site and on his Flickr account. He was a man of many talents.

Rest in peace Mike. :(
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Re: Mike Crowley

Postby Septemris » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:49 pm

I came for the LEGO and stayed for the people in 2000something. Mike was a BIG a part of the fun that was to be had in the forums and one the reasons I spent way too much time here.

This news saddens me deeply. I echo everything that DazHoo said. What an awesome person Mike was. I remember asking him where he found the time to build all his awesome creations. At the time I didn't know about his physical condition. Took a couple of years before I managed to understand how serious his health issues were. Shows you how good he was at being lighthearted and joyful.

I remember talking about illustration work with him. He was so modest too. What an all around great guy. He really was something special, this not just the sad me talking. We never even met in real life. Wish I had. But I am happy I got the chance to know him.

I think I lost some of my Mikeytude myself in the last few years. Some things I take too seriously now. I'll work on that as a tribute to you Mike. Goodbye my friend!
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Re: Mike Crowley

Postby Iare Tosevite » Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:45 pm

:( I'll miss him, hes such a great guy and amazing artist and lego moc'er.

May he rest in peace.
Where, where, where is correct way out?
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Re: Mike Crowley

Postby dWhisper » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:41 pm

I still remember more than a few discussions between Mike and myself on the old boards, talking about sets, etc. He was one of the first people I talked to on the staff, and was a great help when I first joined the team as a Mod waaaay back when. The AFOL community is a bit darker without him...
If the above post didn't offend you, you're probably reading it wrong.
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Re: Mike Crowley

Postby Striker » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:25 pm

Mike had a huge impact on me when I first joined the community. He immediately stood out as a kind, welcoming person that seemed to never have a bad thought in him. He will be greatly missed
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Re: Mike Crowley

Postby preterosso » Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:36 pm

I came across his Miniland early in my escape from the Dark Ages, and his inventiveness and humor floored me. I immediately built his Wampa once I saw it, and it's still on a shelf somewhere -- I'll have to dust it off and bring it front and center to remind me what a gift he was to us all.
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Re: Mike Crowley

Postby wwwally » Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:40 pm

Rest in peace Count. I remember seeing your work and interacting with you from my earliest days at FBTB, over a decade ago. You'll be in my prayers tonight. Play well.

Death Star II wall/desk clock
LEGO Globe (Lowell sphere method)
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Re: Mike Crowley

Postby sharkshark » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:05 pm

This sad news, even for those of us who visit far more than we post. Best to his family, and to those that knew him. - under construction since 2005!
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Re: Mike Crowley

Postby Austin » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:07 pm

Mike was an amazing guy, and he will be missed by every person who was ever lucky enough to talk with him.
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Re: Mike Crowley

Postby Joedward » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:31 am

I'm still stunned by this news. I knew he was often ill, and that he'd sort of fallen off the grid for so long was always worrying, but whenever my thoughts turned to him I, like others, just assumed he'd bounce back. I thought he'd just turn up one day, maybe apologise for causing us such worry in the first place, make a joke at our expense, and then we'd all carry on like nothing had changed.

Mike's comics were a huge draw for me when I arrived at the site 8 odd years ago, and I completely fell in love with his miniland. Finally joining the forum in summer of 05 and I found what a genuinely pleasant, wholeheartedly awesome guy he was.
Having a look over the old forum, I'm fairly sure I can't not have been a bit of bother to him when I started, but time goes on, years go by and somewhere, buried on my computer, are hours and hours of chat logs from the irc channel where Mike, for a time at least, frequented often. I really wish I'd had a chance to meet him at some point, but alas, it wasn't to be.

A great builder, wonderful artist, truly fantastic man, and our commmunity is a slightly darker place without him.

Goodbye Mike. We'll miss you.
(that's Mr. Ed to you)

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Re: Mike Crowley

Postby bluemoose » Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:26 am

Austin wrote:Mike was an amazing guy, and he will be missed by every person who was ever lucky enough to talk with him.
I can't really add anything to that :-(

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Re: Mike Crowley

Postby Draykov » Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:11 am

Thanks to MIke's friend Caylin over at Brothers Brick for the link to the obituary. RIP, buddy.
Hail Space!
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