Another Reuben Awards in the books. This was our 10th time attending… The Lovely Anna and I have never missed one since I became a member in 1999.
Cartooning is a strange business and occupation… it’s one where you strive to communicate with the world through humor via words and images, yet most do it sitting alone at their drawing table with little or no interaction with others. It’s a solitary process and the feedback you get can be little to none.
That’s what makes the NCS such a great organization, and the Reubens such an important function to so many. It’s the one place where cartoonists can get together and interact. It’s awesome to be in the same room with some of the biggest names in cartooning, many of whom are personal heroes, and talk shop, sports, weather… you name it. I sometimes hear how new attendees feel “left out” or “low on the totem pole” at these events. I would be lying if I said there isn’t some clique mentality there… after all many of these people have been good friends for decades and it’s easy to feel left out when they are catching up with each other. However there is very little true exclusion going on. Most of the folks are friendly and it’s surprising how easy it can be to engage even the most recognizable names in polite conversation. There needs to be effort on the newcomers part… wallflowers who sit there waiting to be recognized are in for a long wait.
10 years ago The Lovely Anna and I attended out first Reubens in San Antonio. Mort Drucker was my sponsor (see this story for how that happened), but he did not attend as his mother became very ill right at that time. So we literally attended the weekend knowing no one whatsoever. Zero. Nada. I was a young(ish) freelancer with some comic book experience and a handful of small magazine and advertising clients. I was over a year away from my first MAD job. We were too shy and spent most of the weekend walking around staring at people and just trying to soak it all in. We were not wallflowers, however. It was easy to see that unless we were proactive and approached others to introduce ourselves we would leave the Reuben weekend still knowing no one. The first people we met were Jack and Dena Davis, who are so incredibly nice and genuine it’s almost hard to believe they are real. I brought some of my work along and showed it to MAD‘s book editor Charlie Kochman who showed it to Nick Meglin… who didn’t like it but Charlie encouraged me to send in more work. We also met other great people who like us were hardly of the Walker or Trudeau ilk, but just working cartoonists. Most members are just hard working cartoonists… there are only a few real superstars.
This is getting long, so suffice it to say that if you make the effort at an event like this, whether it be one of cartoonists, plumbers or brain surgeons, you will not feel left out.
This Reuben weekend was a lot of fun. Sadly I did not wear enough (okay… ANY) sunblock during our Habitat for Humanity project on Friday, and was so badly sunburned the rest of the weekend that I was somewhat limited in my activities. It was hot and humid, so walking around the French Quarter was a little painful. Getting slapped on the back and congratulated for my Reuben divisional win when in my rather tight-fitting tux on Saturday night was also not very pleasant… although I never let on to anyone I was seriously suffering under there.
Sunday there was another round of seminars from Mark Tatuli (Heart of the City and Lio) and Nancy Goldstein (Author of “Jackie Ormes: The First African American Woman Cartoonist“)… both of which I had to miss due to an NCS Foundation meeting and more work on that MAD job. That evening we had a “second line parade” through the French Quarter followed by dinner at Broussard’s. Great fun, and it was a pleasure to get to see some old friends and great talents like Keelan and Barbie Parham, Ed and Heather Steckley, Steve and Heidi Silver and Eddie and Beth Pittman. It was also great getting to meet a lot of new people and thanks to all who introduced themselves and to whom I got a chance to talk.
I had an inserted gallery of pictures previously, but that didn’t work out so well, so here are the full pics:
Me and The Lovely Anna at dinner Thursday
Jack Davis and me at the pre-awards cocktail party
Anna and Nick Meglin
Jeff Keane at the Reuben awards ceremony
Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship winner Juana Medina
Mike Peters gets “Super” to help Daryl Cagle open a winner’s envelope
Mort Gerberg accepts his Reuben for Gag Cartoons
My good friend Steve Silver gets a Reuben for TV Animation
Nobody understands a damn thing Sergio says, but they ask him to present every year anyway…
The charming Sandra Boynton accepts the Milton Caniff lifetime achievement award
Jack Davis presents the Reuben for Advertising Illustration
Me accepting the Advertising Illustration Reuben
Al Jaffee wins the Reuben for “Cartoonist of the Year”
Nick Meglin, Sergio Aragones, Bill Gallo, Al Jaffee, Jack Davis and Sam Viviano
Me and Steve showing off the hardware
The loveliest ladies in the NCS: Anna, Heather Steckley, Barbie Parham and Heidi Silver
Legends Arnold Roth and Al Jaffee
Al and Ed Steckley
Ace and Gary, the Ambiguously Gay Duo. I’m Ace.
The Tatuli family
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