According to an Associated Press report, American author Eric Jerome Dickey died from cancer on January 3, 2021. Dickey, who was only 59, was best known for writing crime, romance, and erotic novels and short stories, as well as for writing the 2006 Marvel miniseries “Storm” (illustrated by David Yardin), which fleshed out the backstory of the X-Men character and her history with Black Panther.
Dickey was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on July 7, 1961. He graduated from Memphis State University with a degree in Computer System Technology in 1983, and moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a software developer at aerospace company Rockwell International. He decided that he wanted to pursue acting and stand-up comedy, and landed a recurring role on the teen drama Almost There! from 1989 to 1992.
His first novel, Sister, Sister, was published in 1996, and he earned a devoted following from young and middle-aged Black women for his wit, his strong female characters, and for writing steamy sex scenes. “I read a lot of female magazines, anything from Cosmo to Essence,” he was quoted as saying. “I watch my friends, female friends. I watch my girlfriends, the little bitty things they do. I listen to things they say, and a lot of times I read between the lines.”
He wrote a total of 29 novels, as well as the screenplay for the 1998 movie Cappuccino, and short stories for anthologies like Mothers and Sons, and Black Silk: A Collection of African American Erotica. He said of his Marvel gig, “To me it was like getting a call from the president. I grew up on comics. I didn’t even know that I was on their radar. It was really kind of intimidating. You’re thinking Stan Lee and Gil Kane and the cats that I grew up with just admiring their work — this is the same company. And they are calling me, and it’s not a sales call for a subscription?”
“Black Panther: World of Wakanda” writer Roxane Gay tweeted, “I am truly saddened to hear about the passing of Eric Jerome Dickey. His were some of the first novels I ever read about black people that weren’t about slavery or civil rights. He was a great storyteller.” Dickey is survived by his four daughters. His final book, The Son of Mr. Suleman, will be released in April.