Comics journalist and convention organizer Tom Spurgeon died Wednesday at the age of 50.
Spurgeon was the co-founder (with Jordan Raphael) of the long-running comics journalism outlet Comics Reporter, and also worked as Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC)'s Executive Director since 2015. Through his work at Comics Reporter and previously as Managing Editor/Executive Editor of The Comics Journal from 1994-1999, Spurgeon won the Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for "Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism" on seven occasions.
Spurgeon co-authored one of the primary Stan Lee biographies, Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book, as well as the Fantagraphics historical book We Told You So: Comics As Art. Spurgeon also co-created and co-wrote the newspaper strip Wildwood (with Dan Wright), which was syndicated by King Features from 1999 to 2002.
"We are heartbroken to have to share the devastating news that our friend and Executive Director of CXC Tom Spurgeon passed away earlier today," read a post on CXC's Facebook page Wednesday evening. "Tom was an authoritative voice on the art form, a passionate champion of cartoonists, both emerging and firmly established, and he personified the spirit and mission of our still relatively young festival dedicated to the art of comics.
"Through his art and criticism, he leaves an indelible stamp on the field to which he dedicated so much of his life. Our hearts go out to Tom's family, friends, and to the many people in our field that were fortunate enough to pass through his orbit."
A memorial is scheduled to take place Saturday, December 14 at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum in Columbus, Ohio. For details, visit the Facebook event page that has been set up.