R.I.P. Doug Winger by Kjorteo

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.

R.I.P. Doug Winger

Kjorteo

23 June 2015 at 08:37:56 MDT

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    I think Doug Winger was one of the only truly Iconic people we've had in the fandom. You could call something Wingeresque and everyone would know exactly what to expect from a drawing, whether they were "into" the concept or not. As you mentioned, everything I've heard backs up that he was generally a really cool guy and I never heard about any drama. No one seemed to have a poor opinion of him. There was, apparently, nothing bad to say.

    This may be why newer furries don't recognize him; most of the fame furries get these days stem from drama communities and the rumor mill. It feels unusual to me that something so notorious and even actually racy or shocking back in the day would in retrospect lead back to someone who wasn't a total aspie sleazeball.

    I kind of wish I'd had an opportunity to have met him. I don't even know what I'd have talked about, but sometimes it's just good to have an extra perspective.

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      I swear there was some sort of inverse art-to-personality thing going on with at least a fair portion of the old guard furries. Like, the ones who drew the fucked up stuff like Winger and Chanta Ra were/are cool people in real life, but Frank Gembeck (whose work was talented but a little tame-to-the-point-of-boring for my tastes) was the one who later got arrested for having CP.

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        I think the majority of people who were on the Internet in those days were a particular type of person; as it became more and more widespread the audience changed and the fandom paradigm shifted. Seriously though, what a strange correlation.

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        Chanta Ra (and his other names) was another person who has/had a great, distinct style. I wish they were still around~

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    It's a real shame. This marks the first 'famous' furry I've seen pass away, and it's kind of odd to think about.

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    Rest in peace, sir. You'll be missed.

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    I am sadder about this than I ever would have expected to be.

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      Likewise. You never know what you have until it's gone, I guess? Everything I just said about how amazing and impressive it is for him to have been so iconic and recognizable in such a crowded field... that's always been true, always, but it only occurred to me after I heard the news and started thinking about what to say for this writeup.