Mike Bushler, owner of Phase One Graphics and FYA Independent, who died suddenly of an aneurysm April 14, had many friends and colleagues in the adult industry.
AVN spoke to a few of the people whose lives he had touched and, not surprisingly, found them unanimous in their praise for him, as a professional and as a person.
4-Play's Ed Powers said that Phase One Graphics designed "basically all my product," including the Dirty Debutantes covers, The Real Naturals, Cockless and others.
"Everyone knows that the content does not make the product—the first point of sale is about the packaging and design. There was no better than Mike, his wife Becky and their specialized team. Anything I had in concept he was able to realize and always came in under the time table. He shot pics of me for promos, too. He was a great photographer."
Powers added, "I'll never forget the warmth he brought as a human being. I'll never forget his humor and the one on one conversations we had through the years. I will miss him very much."
Mike Esposito of Gentlemen's Video, who worked with Bushler for 10 years, also spoke of his personal warmth and sense of humor. "He taught me about art work," he said. "He brought me to the next level. He was professionalism.
"Michael always put other people first. He believed in loyalty. He never put dollars in front of friendship. I loved him dearly and I mourn his passing. I'm going to support his company 100% in the future."
Gigi Appleton, whose Avalon Enterprises distributes Bushler's FYA Independent DVDs, said, "I can't tell you what a horrible loss it is for all of us. Phase One was one of the most innovative, wonderful companies to work with, so professional."
The Bushlers, she said, "have always been fabulous colleagues, great business partners, and personal friends. I was so excited that they allowed me to distribute their material. Michael and Becky had a fabulous theory about the adult industry: if you make a good, quality movie, people are going to want to watch it."
She said that two FYI series, Big Boobs the Hard Way and Gigantic Joggies, are among Avalon's top sellers. "I had had a meeting with both of them the Thursday before he died and we had plotted out the next quarter, as far as production."
With distribution, she said, "Everything will continue as it always has, with Becky at the helm. But you can't help but miss the wonderful presence that Michael was."