A note about Tom Inge
My initial thoughts on hearing about Tom's passing....
On Saturday, December 30, 1978, at the New York Hilton, M. Thomas (Tom) Inge presided over the first-ever Modern Language Association panel about comics, featuring cartoonists Will Eisner and Art Spiegelman. It was sponsored by the American Humor Studies Association.
In 2000, Gene Kannenberg, Scott Stoddart, and I presented in the first-ever MLA panel about Charles Schulz's Peanuts, organized and chaired by Tom. It too was sponsored by the American Humor Studies Association. It was at that MLA that I interviewed for the job I have now.
Of course, I met Tom in between those two events—specifically, at the Popular Culture Association conference in Philadelphia in April 1995. That was the conference that ushered me into the PCA comics studies community, I mean the Comic Art and Comics Area, within which Tom was understandably and rightly revered. That was the conference that propelled me into my dissertation and changed my life.
In fact, Tom Inge not only opened the doorway to my career as a research writer but changed the lives of many, many other scholars. My first two books are due to him. I cannot imagine what my last twenty-five years would have been like without him. He quite literally made the field of comics studies, as I understand it, possible.
Tom Inge: a tireless scholar, a happy, productive, infinitely generous man, a true gentleman. Where would I, we, have been without him? There are debts we can never repay.
My deepest condolences to Tom's loved ones, colleagues, students, and mentees, everywhere. My further thoughts about Tom’s career can be found at http://www.tcj.com/tom-inge-and-what-he-did/