M. Thomas Inge – RIP

Pop Culture scholar and historian M. Thomas Inge has passed away.

Milton Thomas (Tom) Inge
March 18, 1936 – May 15, 2021

As CBR noted in their subhed: “M. Thomas Inge [was] one of the very first academics to cover comics as a college course and one of the earliest scholarly comics writer[s].”

Tom Inge has long been respected as an early member of the school of academics who took serious the study of pop culture, from Wm. Faulkner to The Funnies.
Naturally here we will focus on his comics studies.

From Mike Rhode:

Tom was one of the best and most productive members of the first group of academics to study comics.


His path toward comic studies began as a teenager when he was co-opted (corrupted?) by EC Comics. As Collin Teviño Bost shows in a letter of comment from 1953.


Collin is one of many paying tribute to Tom on Twitter,
while “…So Shall Ye Reap” can be read via Russ Cochran (with a bit of squinting).

A nice 2017 profile of Tom is at the Randolph-Macon College site.

M. Thomas Inge ’59, the Randolph-Macon College Blackwell Professor of Humanities, is discussed frequently in a recently published history of the beginnings of the study of comics in the academy, The Secret Origins of Comics Scholarship, edited by Matthew J. Smith and Randy Duncan (Routledge, 2017). The authors note that “Inge has been a shaker and a mover in the field of comics scholarship for over 40 years.”

Along with his books Tom contributed comics essays and reviews to periodicals, from the scholarly publications of the International Journal of Comics Art, Inks, and Crimmer’s to the mass appeal zines like Hogan’s Alley, Nemo, and The Comics Journal.


Tom also was a go-to guy for when editors and publishers wanted to include a chapter about comics in their non-fiction anthologies, like 1987’s American Humor (read this sample of Tom’s writing). 

Prabook has more details of Tom’s career and a bibliography.


We join the comics community in mourning the loss of a scholar and a gentleman.

image via Gene Kannenberg, Jr.; photo via The Tennessean