Universal Uclick has passed along the sad news
that Tom Wilson, Sr., has passed away.
Although I was never an ardent admirer of the "Ziggy" comic, I shared the stage with Tom's son, Tom Jr., during a panel discussion at New York Comic Con some years back.
Tom Jr., who had taken over the comic after being his father's assistant for years, told the story about growing up as Tom Wilson's son.
At a restaurant, waiting for the food to arrive, the elder Wilson would flip his son's placemat and draw Ziggy in a precarious situation -- at the bottom of a well or about to fall out of an airplane.
Then he'd hand the pen to his son and tell him to draw something to help Ziggy get out of the mess.
But it couldn't be the obvious answer. No ladders were allowed to get Ziggy out of the well, but drawing an inner tube around the little guy and flooding the well with water was applauded.
Flooding the well with applesauce might have gotten a higher score yet.
It was like Scribblenauts, only analog.
To hear Tom talk about those moments with such warmth really moved me. It wasn't a dad trying to keep his little brat quiet until the food came.
It was a creative person teaching his kid how to think. Creatively.
I can't think of a more important gift.
And ever since then, I've never been able to muster a sneer for "Ziggy." Because I can't look at one of those little drawings without picturing father and a son, smiling quietly in a restaurant, as one of the most precious gifts imaginable gets passed along in the most humble of settings.
"Ziggy" will continue to appear in your local newspaper and on the UClick Web site
. Not because it's a legacy comic with an entrenched readership, but for one, simple reason...
Love never dies.