Doug Wright (1917-1983) did a comic strip titled Doug Wright's Family for the Canadian Magazine and Star Weekly. A lot of Canadians grew up on "Doug Wright's Family." It was at first glance a suburban slice of life strip.
For instance, here's one about having your mom shopping for clothes, and how every male kid hates it. There are both very specific (the look of the mall, the different mothers and kids) and very cartoony (the swooshes of smoke delineating speed (panel 2) and frustration (last panel).) But there is also something even more inviting: the joy of drawing.
The Doug Wright Family strip had 2 boys (the real Doug Wright had 3 kids, but I digress). This strip shows the typical love/hate pattern that 2 siblings have. And we also see some loving details: the iron work in the screen door, that little mail box that millions of North American homes have. And there's a real knowing of the human condition too!
Not growing up in Canada, I did not see any other these strips nor did I know who Doug Wright was. Here is one that is just plain mean -- and very funny. I think Mr. Wright understood how nasty kids could be. If you look at the houses and the garage doors, you start to feel just how suburban this strips was. The surprise if how much like The Sopranos these kids can be at times!
This simple strip, another pantomime like most of Doug Wright's work, illustrates his love of detail. Look at that rain splooshing down in the last panel. And I love the kid's happy look as well.
The Doug Wright Awards are given to Canadian cartoonists in two categories: Best Book and Best Emerging Talent.
From the late 1940s until the 1980, Doug Wright's Family was a staple. The awards were founded last year "to cast a spotlight on the wide array of comic artists and cartoonists working within Canada." But the awards, with all their good intentions, do not embrace Canadian gag cartoonists, Canadian comic strip artists, Canadian illustrators, etc. Graphic novelists, sure.
I hope that as the years go on, other categories will be added. Since Wright was a newspaper cartoonist, I hope that the board will see fit to add newspaper cartoonist to its list of award nominees. It's dreadful to see Canadian cartoonists who are being published that are not considered. Heck, even Doug Wright, if he was drawing Doug Wright's Family, would not currently qualify for a nod. And it's not right that 3 of the 5 links to Wright's work do not work as of today at the Doug Wright Awards site! Please consider today's blog offering as evidence of interest in showcasing more of Mr. Wright's work on the Net!
Sure, they're casting a spotlight -- but it's a damn narrow beam.