Tiamat’s Disciple: A brief remembrance

TD's avatar

TD's avatar

Francis Metcalfe, known to all of us as Tiamat’s Disciple, died yesterday after a long battle with cancer. Apparently he was a fan right up to the end; he posted his last tweet on May 31:

did finish macross frontier today though, and i sorta liked it. the music grew on me and i did like the ending

Those of us who follow his blog regularly knew that he was fighting cancer; occasionally it would knock him out for a while, but he would always come back, so it was a shock when this time, he didn’t. Just last week, he had posted to say that his health was declining and he was thinking of putting the blog on hiatus, but even then, he was still hoping for a turnaround.

It didn’t happen. Yesterday, his brother Marcus put up a final blog post to let the world know that TD had passed away. What happened next was remarkable: Over 50 people stopped by the blog to leave condolence messages, and others posted farewells to him on their own blogs.

If you read his blog regularly, you know TD could be cranky and argumentative. I think he ultimately took down his rantiest posts, in which he roundly condemned certain publishers for their poor paper quality, slow release schedules, or failure to make their books available in the UK (the latter was a constant source of frustration for him). Those posts seemed over the top at the time, but knowing now how sick he was, I think I understand a little better. This was what was important to him, and he cared about it, maybe a bit too much. On the other hand, his reviews, which he titled “Thoughts and Impressions,” had a different tone. They were not deep critiques so much as a manga fan chatting to fellow fans about what he did and didn’t like about a book.

Marcus writes that TD became more interested in anime and manga after his diagnosis.

His attitude towards things changed drastically as a result of being close to death twice. While it’s certainly true he had become more abrasive, and forceful, and yes at times he was an obnoxious sod, it was because he always said what he wanted to say and refused to compromise his views anymore. He once told me he was sick of pandering to what people wanted to hear, and decided it was better to just come out and say it. As a result he was frequently butting heads with people over issues he wrote about. However he never took these issues personally, and seemed to rather enjoy the fact that people would argue with him, rather than just agree to get the point dropped.

Over the past 8 months this blog had become his life, more so since for a lot of the time he was bedridden, making here, and his twitter account, his main source of communication.

I can’t tell you what it’s like to read these comments and see that while my brother was a pain in the arse at times, there were people who liked and will miss him. I have to admit I was against him getting into manga and blogging, because I felt it would isolate him more, and I am pleased to see I was wrong to think that.

Of course, comics and manga fans love a good fight, so TD fit right in here. My one hope is that knowing about TD’s struggle will help us remember, even in the heat of battle, that the person on the other side of the screen is a real human being, with a whole offscreen life that we know nothing about.

I asked Marcus how people could remember TD, and he suggested the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund—an appropriate cause for one who was adamant in his rejection of censorship and his embrace of free speech. You can send donations to

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
255 W. 36th Street,
Suite 501,
New York, NY 10018.

or donate online at their website. Marcus is OK with using Francis’s real name, but we both thought “Tiamat’s Disciple” or “TD” is more appropriate, as that is how he was known not only in our community but apparently among his offline friends as well. I suggest that if you donate you leave a comment on the blog or a reply to his Twitter feed so his family will know.

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  1. Any idea on how to actually donate in someone’s name? I poked around the donation system…. There’s no specified option. I assume you make note of it in the comment area on the bottom of the payment form….

  2. Nobody but advertisers use real mail, silly.

  3. Tiamat’s Disciple drove me batty sometimes, but nothing saddens me more than to hear of his untimely demise. He will be missed by me.


  1. […] with him was never boring, and I will miss him. Brigid Alverson over at the Manga Blog has a remembrance post with includes information about making donations to the CBLDF in his name as a […]

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