Skip to main content
Move the World.
Caption: Manny Galan (left) and Ed Resto (right)
Manny Galan (left) and Ed Resto (right)

Ed and Manny loved all the same things: Comic books, action figures, Mystery Science Theater , and the work of designer Ralph McQuarrie.

And they really loved outer space epics. One Halloween, they bought a kit and made stormtrooper outfits to wear in a parade. They rigged the helmets up with speakers and everything:

Ed and Manny met in 1997 while working as animators at Nickelodeon. For the next 10 years, they collaborated on comic books, independent animations, and crazy Halloween costumes. Whenever Manny needed a prop built for a Nickelodeon animation, Ed would build it. If you ever got hyped for Christmas by watching Merry Nickmas shorts, you can thank Manny for making them, and Ed for helping him with the storyboards:

Ed was one of the “kindest, gentlest men I have ever known, and thoughtful as well,” says Manny. Which is why his accidental death in November 2007 was all the more devastating. Manny had dropped by Ed’s house after not hearing from him for a few days. Newspapers were piled up outside, so Manny broke the door and forced his way inside, where he found that Ed, who had Type 1 diabetes, had died of hypoglycemia.

Losing Ed meant more than losing a collaborator. He’d also been a uniquely generous friend.

“He knew how much I loved Adam West's Batman and that I had always dreamed of having a 12-inch figure of him,” Manny says. “But alas they had, at the time, never made one. After he had passed away, I was helping to clean and package up his apartment, and I found a bust he was making from scratch in order to create a figure for me.”

Manny wanted to do something special for Ed; something that could reflect what Ed had done for him and so many others. While packing up Ed’s house, he came across a comic they’d published together called Homecoming:

homecoming

Ed was obsessed with space, particularly Star Trek and its hopeful, idealistic themes. Almost everything Ed made was related to space.

That reminded Manny of a conversation they’d had about actor James Doohan who passed away in 2004. Doohan played Scotty on the original Star Trek series, and like Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, had arranged for his ashes to be launched into space by a company called Celestis. That’s how Ed wanted to go, too.

So Manny reached out to Celestis and learned that a space funeral was actually pretty doable. The company has been sending small quantities of human ashes into space since 1997, when they launched both Roddenberry and the father of modern psychedelic research, Timothy Leary.

It was the perfect way to send off Ed, who’d spent no small amount of his adult life dressed for the occasion:

agf00038

Celestis’s services don’t actually cost more than a conventional funeral. Flying ashes into low Earth orbit starts at $1,295, and the ashes are returned to loved ones after the flight. Flying beyond low Earth orbit is a little more expensive, and the ashes don’t come home--instead, the capsule vaporizes as it reenters Earth’s atmosphere.

To raise the money for Ed’s flight, Manny and Ed’s other friends decided to hold an auction at a local bar featuring Ed’s work. They called it Resto-Fest:

resto-fest_auction_sign

They lined the place with one incredible portrait after another, all painted by Ed:

resto_fest_auction

And set up an appropriately themed donation box:

resto-fest_donations-box

They auctioned roughly 70 of Ed’s paintings that night. “We had a tremendous turnout,” Manny says. “He was sincerely loved by everyone.”

And on May 4, 2010--known by nerds everywhere as Star Wars Day--Ed successfully departed for space aboard an UP Aerospace SpaceLoft XL spacecraft. It launched from Spaceport America in New Mexico:

Manny still keeps the incomplete Adam West bust on display in his office. It’s a reminder of Ed’s willingness to create the things he thought the world should have, even if no one else wanted to make them. That joyful nonconformism inspired Manny to create some of his own favorite work.

And every November, Manny watches the video of Ed’s flight to the final frontier.

Homepage image via Celestis

Up Next

Technology & The Arts
High-Tech Art Exhibit Looks at Life Through the Eyes of AI
High-Tech Art Exhibit Looks at Life Through the Eyes of AI
Technology & The Arts
High-Tech Art Exhibit Looks at Life Through the Eyes of AI
In this Chicago museum, artists explore some of the most polarizing forms of imagery at the moment: surveillance and facial recognition.

In this Chicago museum, artists explore some of the most polarizing forms of imagery at the moment: surveillance and facial recognition.

Future of Fertility
Breaking the Taboo of Male Infertility
Breaking the Taboo of Male Infertility
Future of Fertility
Breaking the Taboo of Male Infertility
Male infertility contributes to up to half of infertility cases. Why is it so hard to talk about?

Male infertility contributes to up to half of infertility cases. Why is it so hard to talk about?

Catalysts
How Old Skool Café Helped This Teenager Overcome Adversity After Trauma
How Old Skool Café Helped This Teenager Overcome Adversity After Trauma
Catalysts
How Old Skool Café Helped This Teenager Overcome Adversity After Trauma
After suffering a violent gang beating, Desiree Maldonado experienced major medical and emotional issues. She turned from a shy and nerdy 14-year-old kid to a hard and angry rebel. This is how one restaurant job changed her trajectory.
By Lise Metzger

After suffering a violent gang beating, Desiree Maldonado experienced major medical and emotional issues. She turned from a shy and nerdy 14-year-old kid to a hard and angry rebel. This is how one restaurant job changed her trajectory.

Art That Heals
This Artist Heals Wounds of Violence With Tattoos
This Artist Heals Wounds of Violence With Tattoos
Art That Heals
This Artist Heals Wounds of Violence With Tattoos
Brian Finn tattoos over scars from self-harm, violence, or human trafficking for free or at a discounted rate in order to help people heal.

Brian Finn tattoos over scars from self-harm, violence, or human trafficking for free or at a discounted rate in order to help people heal.

Missing Words
A Language Goes Extinct Every Two Weeks. Here’s a Plan to Save Them.
A Language Goes Extinct Every Two Weeks. Here’s a Plan to Save Them.
Missing Words
A Language Goes Extinct Every Two Weeks. Here’s a Plan to Save Them.
Volunteers worldwide are documenting the world's rarest languages in a project called Wikitongues.

Volunteers worldwide are documenting the world's rarest languages in a project called Wikitongues. Over a thousand volunteers (and counting) from around the world make videos of people speaking their native language — introducing themselves, providing an oral history, or just talking about their culture — then upload it to an online database. The archive is available on the web as a free language encyclopedia. Soon they will also be available at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

#fixingjustice - Prosecution
Exclusive Interview: How Miriam Krinsky is Leading Us to a Smarter & More...
Miriam Krinsky
#fixingjustice - Prosecution
Exclusive Interview: How Miriam Krinsky is Leading Us to a Smarter & More...
Her organization is bringing together a new generation of prosecutors with a shared vision of fair, compassionate,...

Her organization is bringing together a new generation of prosecutors with a shared vision of fair, compassionate, and responsible criminal justice reform.

Coffin-Building Club Helps Seniors Face Death and Enjoy Life
Coffin-Building Club Helps Seniors Face Death and Enjoy Life
Watch Now
Coffin-Building Club Helps Seniors Face Death and Enjoy Life
These seniors are tackling the stigma around death by decorating their own coffins.
Watch Now

Most people are afraid to even talk about death, but New Zealand’s Kiwi Coffin Club is facing it head on. Founded by Katie Williams, a former midwife and hospice nurse, members build and then decorate their own customized coffins as a way of celebrating their lives and highlighting their unique personalities. "Death's pretty natural, you know," says Williams. "It shouldn't be a frightening sort of situation. It's part of...

Wrong
Is Vitamin C a Total Sham
Is Vitamin C a Total Sham
Watch Now
Wrong
Is Vitamin C a Total Sham
In the heart of cold and flu season, it's natural to reach for the Vitamin C. But we may want to think twice. While...
Watch Now

In the heart of cold and flu season, it's natural to reach for the Vitamin C. But we may want to think twice. While it has ballooned into a billion dollar business and crystallized as an all-powerful supplement in our collective conscious, countless studies have showed that Vitamin C’s ability to cure is questionable at best, and may even increase your risk for certain diseases. Did we all really get Vitamin C totally...wrong?

Culture
What We Need Right Now Is a Little Bit of Hans Rosling
What We Need Right Now Is a Little Bit of Hans Rosling
Culture
What We Need Right Now Is a Little Bit of Hans Rosling
The Swedish public health researcher says that, contrary to most of what you hear, the world is actually moving in...
By Mike Riggs

The Swedish public health researcher says that, contrary to most of what you hear, the world is actually moving in the right direction.