Why ‘Egghead’?

Posted on 30. Apr, 2020 by in Uncategorized

This year, we add a new prize to the Doug Wright lineup—The Egghead: The Doug Wright Award for best kids’ book aimed primarily at readers aged zero to twelve.

When we initially sat down to come up with a name for this new award, the most obvious choice was “The Nipper.” Unfortunately, we had already named an award after Doug Wright’s pint-sized signature character. We thought about it a little more and quickly realized there was a way around our problem. 

In 1949, Doug Wright dropped by his editor’s office at the Montreal Standard and discovered that Hugh Shaw, the editor of the Standard Magazine, was in the market for a strip “about the contrariness of kids.” When he arrived home that evening, Wright wrote a wordless, untitled comic about a bucktoothed boy antagonizing his middle-aged neighbour. It appeared in the Standard Magazine on March 12 and soon became a popular regular feature. 

By that spring, Wright and his editors decided the strip needed a name. The Standard’s publisher ran a much-hyped contest allowing readers to name Wright’s character. In the end, the paper settled on Nipper—a name Wright didn’t particularly care for. His preferred title: Egghead, from a nickname he had been given by the Standard’s art department.

The strip shown here, dated April 8, 1950, appears to be a redrawn version of a previously published Nipper strip, featuring Wright’s unused title. Why Wright made this re-creation is unknown (it’s possible he was preparing a package to pitch the strip to U.S. syndicates), but it’s an interesting look at what could have been. 

Seventy years later, we’re proud to bring Wright’s original vision to life—in trophy form. 

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