Tom Spurgeon 1968-2019

I didn’t know Tom Spurgeon, a longtime critic and lover of comics who passed
away last week at just 50. We met but once at a convention. I know his work, though, and I know a lot of other people in the comics world who did know him, admire him, care for him.

Spurgeon was editor of Fantagraphics’ The Comics Journal for several years before launching his website The Comics Reporter. He championed a broad range of coverage of the art form yet could also both look critically at the industry (or industries, really) and look as appreciatively on the bedrock of popular American comics as on innovative, international creations. He co-authored books on Stan Lee and Fantagraphics. He wrote the syndicated strip Wildwood — a name dear to my heart — with its artist, his childhood friend Dan Wright. I’m not doing him justice.

Following the medical crisis that nearly took his life in 2011, Tom posted a remarkable essay titled “All of These Things that Have Made Us” which I read with chills and wonder then and just now, again, because everyone’s linking to it and so many of us who’ve in some way inescapably given themselves over to this medium/business/
imaginarium that we adore can see ourselves reflected back in his words. My own life became fairly insular due to chronic illness around the time we crossed paths in Columbus a couple of decades ago, but I sure wish I had known Tom.

Undated Wildwood strip © Dan Wright circa 2001.

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