Friday, March 16, 2007

Jay Kennedy is Dead

Woke up to find this in my inbox:

King Features has the sad duty to announce that Editor in Chief Jay Kennedy died yesterday in a drowning accident while on vacation in Costa Rica.

We do not have the full details yet, but wanted to be in immediate communication with the cartooning community. We will notify you when funeral arrangements have been completed.
When I was just starting out, Jay was one of the big, important, untouchable editors who took the time to write me a personal rejection letter and to talk on the phone with me, give me pointers, and encourage me to keep trying. He was the head of the largest syndicate with the most iconic features (Popeye, etc.), but he took time out of his day to talk to people nobody had ever heard of before. And he was just the same in person. I first stood in the same room with him in 2003 at the San Francisco NCS convention. He introduced himself, told me was sad about being too late to get Candorville (he'd been out of town when I sent him the submission, and wrote to me about it a few days after I'd already signed with the Washington Post Writers Group). And then we just talked for a while. One of the nicest, most genuine pony-tail wearing guys I've ever met. What a loss.

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