Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Kems

There are several acquaintances with whom I keep in touch almost exclusively through email. Sometimes a considerable amount of time can go by between communications, yet each of these people is important to me.

The last couple of emails I had sent to my Australian cartoonist friend James Kemsley were not returned. Doing a little internet search last night to see what he might be up to, I discovered the sad news that he died several months ago. I wondered how I could have been so far out of the loop to not have heard about his death. Doubtless, bereaved families don't go to the deceased email address book and send out notices. And I haven't hung out at any cartoonist sites for years.

Kems was an actor and a cartoonist who was asked to take over Ginger Meggs a few years ago, a long-running comic strip in Australia. He brought Meggs to a level of popularity it had never seen before. Kems received the Stanley Award for Cartoonist of the Year, and twice won the Stanley for Comic Strip Artist.

He died from motor neurone disease and was only 59. Last month he was posthumously awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia.

Kems was always supportive and helpful and a fan of Spooner. He loved cartooning and was a friend to cartoonists as a whole. I'm sorry he's gone... but cartoonists have a unique way of leaving us things to remember them by.

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