Longtime comics journalist and writer Tom Spurgeon passed away Wednesday.  He was 50.  Spurgeon was the creator of The Comics Reporter website, for which he won Eisner Awards for Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism in 2010, 2012, and 2013.  He was also Executive Director of Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, a comics festival organized by Lucy Shelton Caswell and the team behind Cartoon Books, Jeff Smith and his wife Vijaya Iyer.

Spurgeon edited The Comics Journal from 1994-1999, wrote the daily comic strip Wildwood with Dan Wright for three years, co-wrote the biography Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book, and co-authored Comics As Art: We Told You So, a 700-page history of Fantagraphics (see "Fantagraphics Celebrates Its 40 Year Anniversary in a Uniquely Fantagraphics-ish Way").

In recent years, Spurgeon’s inestimable wit was best displayed on Twitter, where his 18,000+ followers, which undoubtedly included most of the key people in the comics business and art form, were treated to funny, smart, pithy, and sometimes biting observations on comics and life on a regular basis.  We last saw him at San Diego Comic-Con this year, where we chatted about a string of hilarious tweets he’d been sending out in the run-up to the show.  He said he’d been running on little sleep, which he’d found had a tendency to make his tweets funnier.

The one we liked the best of those pre-San Diego tweets, which like many of his comments, captured the zeitgeist of the comics business in a single laugh-producing sentence: "7 percent of me thinks San Diego Con ends this year with the all-ages people ganging up and going red wedding on the remaining alt-, art- and superhero comics crowds."

While the pinned tweet from his Twitter account showed his devotion to comics and the sardonic flare with which he commented on it: "I will save this comics industry to the ground."

Too soon to lose him, way too soon. 

Portrait by Michael Netzer for his Portraits of the Creators Sketchbook, from Wikimedia Commons.