Anime News

Report: Cartoon/Fantasy Organization Cofounder Mark Merlino Has Passed Away

There is sad news as Anime News Network reports that Mark Merlino, the cofounder of Cartoon/Fantasy Organization, has passed away. ANN is basing this on reports on social media, including from Merlino’s organization Prancing Skiltaire Parties. The GoFundMe page that was set up to cover Merlino’s hospice care after he was diagnosed with stage IV cancer —  which hasn’t been updated since February 19 — does not mention his passing as of this writing. Otaku USA previously brought attention to this GoFundMe effort on February 12.

In the most recent February 19 post, the GoFundMe page wrote:

Dear Friends and Supporters,

We’re reaching out to share an update on Mark’s condition, which has unfortunately continued to decline. Currently, Mark spends most of his time resting, with moments of minimal movement. Communication has become increasingly difficult for him, as he is no longer able to open his eyes or speak.

During this challenging time, the presence of visitors has brought great comfort not only to Mark but to us as well. The love and support shown by friends, family, and the furry community have been a source of strength and solace.

We want to express our deepest gratitude for the outpouring of love and support we’ve received. It has been immensely comforting to know we’re not alone during this time. Your visits, messages, and contributions through the GoFundMe have been pillars of support for us all.

The GoFundMe page had a goal of $52,000, and as of this writing, it’s made $59,014.

Merlino and Fred Patten, who passed away in 2018, founded the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization (a.k.a. C/FO) in LA in 1977. It was the very first anime club in North America, breaking new ground. Merlino was additionally influential in the furry community and was behind the furry convention ConFurence. After it was reported that he had passed, his name trended on Twitter, showing the impact he’s had on people’s lives.

Source: ANN, GoFundMe


Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at