Old guard furry artist Doug Winger passed away this morning.
I'm guessing lots of people my age and up probably knew who he was already, some of the newer younger crowd might not have, that's how these things go I guess.
Gather around kids old grandpa Teo has a story for you Suffice it to say that he was an artist with an *ahem* very distinct style and thematic focus and oh my God I don't care if he's in the news for his passing; don't ever Google "Doug Winger" at work/if you're underage/innocent/etc.
That's probably the main reason kids these days wouldn't be as familiar with him, I'm guessing. The furry fandom as a whole has grown so large that it's developed sub-fandoms for specific whatever-you're-into. It's easier than ever before to think, "Oh, sorry, I'm not really into hyper herms" and then go about your business without ever encountering them or the artists behind them. Back in my day, Winger was everywhere, and notorious, and notorious for being everywhere.
The thing that amazes me the most, though, is that to this day Winger remained (and will continue to remain) iconic to those who were familiar with him. Do you have any idea how hard it is to stand out these days? Do you know how many furries are artists? Do you know how many millions of submissions FurAffinity alone has? (And that's a relatively new site that came along well after Winger had already made his name.) And yet, to this day, I could tell one of my friends that I saw someone's character art and euphemistically describe the proportions as "Wingeresque" and they would know exactly what I mean.
As for the man himself, I never spoke or knew him personally, but everything I saw from afar told me that he was kind, sweet, a bit of a goofball, but just an all-around cool guy. He had a tongue-in-cheek approach that made his art approachable and entertaining even to people who don't like eight-foot-long penises on everything; his weren't threatening because you could tell he didn't take them super seriously, either. If you didn't find his work hot, you could at least chuckle over it. I never knew him closely enough to say for 100% sure but I'm guessing he must have done a little of both.
Still, Doug Winger was more than one man, more than one artist. Doug Winger was (and still is) an entire genre. That is God damned impressive. I've been in the fandom for over a decade, and I've only seen/heard of one other artist (Nezumi) who ever even came close to being able to make that claim.
So congrtatulations, Doug, and rest in peace. I'm pretty sure it's safe to say that you will never, ever be forgotten.