Yesterday one of my best friends in comics, Tom Spurgeon, passed away suddenly. Tom was one of those people in comics who was everywhere, involved in everything, connected to everyone. It’s impossible to gauge what a huge loss this is to our community. For all the things Tom did in public to encourage and support artists and comics in general, there were all the things he did in private. There was no one like him.
Like he did for so many others, he showed me incalculable support throughout my time in comics. Since his passing I’ve heard from many people whose story was, "I was nobody and published a crappy minicomic, and Tom got hundreds of them for review, and yet he took the time to write a few encouraging words."
The photo at the top of this post was taken by Robin McConnell at the 2012 Brooklyn Comics Festival. I love the photo because Tom and I are both pretty cynical, depressed dudes, and yet here you can see our genuine joy at being together at a comics show in a school gymnasium in Brooklyn.
The photo above (by Jared Gardner) is Spurge and I at CXC 2018. Was this the last time we saw each other ? Every time I was in his presence I felt so lucky, like I had to savor every word that came out of his mouth. He was a font of knowledge, wisdom, support, and yet he could be deeply critical of the failings of our comics community, especially what he saw as his own failings within that sphere. People have sometimes (lovingly) described him as salty, and curmudgeonly. He was those things, beautifully so, but only because he loved comics and cartoonists so much. He worked very, very hard to improve his world. And he succeeded to an amazing degree.
God bless him.