Who was Doug Wright and why is there an award named after him?

Canadian cartoonist Doug Wright's Nipper strip, part 1The Doug Wright Awards are a relatively new creation.

Founded in 2004, they are named after the Canadian cartoonist who was hugely popular from the 1950s to '70s. In fact, Wright was sometimes referred to as the Charles Schulz of Canada. His best-known strip, Nipper, first appeared in Montreal Standard in the mid-20th century at a time when weekly magazines were a staple in nearly every household across this country.

Those days are long gone and along with them Wright fell into a cultural void. That was until Canadian comic artist Seth and journalist Brad Mackay, who writes graphic novel reviews for Globe and Mail, decided Canadian cartoonists needed an icon and shone a spotlight on Doug Wright's legacy.

And thankfully they did.

Related: Nine questions with Canadian political cartoonist Terry Mosher (aka Aislin)

In addition to creating and naming the awards after Wright, Seth and Mackay brought together his work for a new generation of comic fans in The Collected Doug Wright: Canada's Master Cartoonist, a biography and portfolio published in 2009. In addition to being an exhaustive collection of Wright's art, it's a fantastic document of Canadian cultural and art history.

Cartoonist Doug Wright's Nipper strip, part 2The award includes three categories covering a wide spectrum of work being created by Canadian cartoonists.

Previous winners include talented cartoonists such as Quebec's Michael Rabagliati and Toronto's Jeff Lemire.

The winners are chosen by juries consisting of people like filmmaker Don McKellar, professor and philosopher Mark Kingwell, and newspaper columnist Andrew Coyne.

The winners announcement is part of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) program.

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