CXC recognizes first recipients of the Tom Spurgeon Award

Mollie Slott, Orrin Evans and Kim Thompson were recognized for supporting cartoonists and enhancing the field ‘in a last and measurable way.’

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus has announced the honorees of the inaugural Tom Spurgeon Awards. Named after the CXC Executive Director and The Comics Reporter founder, who passed away in 2019, The Tom Spurgeon Award will be awarded to “someone who is not primarily a cartoonist and whose support of cartoonists and cartoon art enhanced the field in a lasting and measurable way.”

Lucy Shelton Caswell, CXC board member and the founding curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (who also has an award named after her), announced the recipients in a video:

CXC intends to give the award out annually during the event, but due to “pandemic-related travel restrictions,” the three recipients were chosen posthumously and announced virtually. Future recipients will be invited to attend the event.

The 2021 recipients are:

Mollie Slott, who served as Chicago-Tribune New York Daily news syndicate manager, director and vice president for more than 50 years. Slott championed several comic strips at the paper, including Terry and the Pirates and Dick Tracy, and most notably Dalia “Dale” Messick’s Brenda Starr.

Journalist Orrin Evans, who published All-Negro Comics #1 in 1947. The comic was created entirely by Black creators and only lasted one issue because vendors refused to supply him paper for a second one.

Fantagraphics editor, publisher and translator Kim Thompson, who not only contributed articles to Amazing Heroes and The Comics Journal, but also edited everything from Peter Bagge’s Hate to Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo. He also translated many of the international cartoonist Fantagraphics published, including David B., Lewis Trondheim and Guy Peellaert (whose The Adventures of Jodelle is shown above).

The awards were announced in conjunction with CXC’s annual event, which this year is a hybrid of live and virtual panels featuring Alison Bechdel, Jeff Smith, Ron Wimberly, Chris Samnee, M.S. Harkness, Elsa Charretier and more. You can find more information on their website and on their YouTube channel, where panels are being posted. CXC continues through Sunday.

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