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2014 NCS Reuben Award Nominees Announced

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

reuben award nom 2014

The National Cartoonist Society just announced the nominees for the 2014 Reuben Award for “Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year” are:

  • Roz Chast

  • Stephan Pastis

  • Hilary Price

________________________________________________creation true story

Roz Chast is probably best known for her cartoons in The New Yorker, where she is a staff cartoonist. She attended Rhode Island School of Design, majoring in Painting because it “seemed more artistic”. After graduating, she reverted to type and began drawing cartoons. Her cartoons have been published in many other magazines besides The New Yorker, including Scientific American, the Harvard Business Review, Redbook, and Mother Jones. Her most recent book is a comprehensive compilation of her favorite cartoons called Theories of Everything: Selected, Collected, and Health-Inspected Cartoons of Roz Chast, 1978-2006. She also illustrated The Alphabet from A to Y, with Bonus Letter, Z, the best-selling children’s book by Steve Martin. Her graphic novel “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?”  was picked by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2014. This is Roz’s first nomination for the Reuben Award. You can visit Roz’s website here.

Stephan Pastis is the creator of the daily comic strip Pearls Before Swine, syndicated by Universal Uclick. Stephan practiced law in the San Fransisco Bay area before following his love of cartooning and eventually seeing syndication with Pearls, which was launched in newspapers beginning December 31, 2001. The National Cartoonists Society awarded Pearls Before Swine the Best Newspaper Comic Strip in 2003 and in 2006. Stephan is also the author of the children’s book series Timmy Failure. Stephan lives in northern California with his wife Staci and their two children. This is his seventh nomination for the Reuben award. Visit Stephan’s blog and the Pearls Before Swine website.


Hilary Price is the creator of Rhymes With Orange, a daily newspaper comic strip syndicated by King Features Syndicate. Created in 1995, Rhymes With Orange has thrice won the NCS Best Newspaper Panel Division (2007, 2009 and 2012). Her work has also appeared in Parade Magazine, The Funny Times, People and Glamour. When she began drawing Rhymes With Orange, she was the youngest woman to ever have a syndicated strip. Hilary draws the strip in an old toothbrush factory that has since been converted to studio space for artists. She lives in western Massachusetts. This is Hilary’s second nomination for the Reuben award. You can visit Rhymes With Orange online here.

The official ballots have been issued to all full members of the National Cartoonists Society for voting to determine the winner. Congratulations to the nominees!

The Reuben Award for The Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year is chosen by a secret ballot of the members of the National Cartoonists Society. The Reuben Award is the highest honor that the profession bestows. As with all the NCS awards, the winner need not be a member of the Society. The award was previously called the Billy DeBeck Memorial Award, and the recipient received an engraved silver cigarette box. The Reuben was introduced in 1954 and is named after longtime Honorary President Rube Goldberg. The statue is based on one of Goldberg’s irreverent pieces of sculpture.

The winner of the 2014 “Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year” will be announced on May 23rd at the annual NCS Reuben Awards dinner in Washington D.C.

Great Art Blowout Sale #2

Friday, February 27th, 2015

art blowoutIt’s been a few years… so here is another Great Art Blow-out Sale! Well, only 10 pieces but they are of vintage nature. I have to fund the redesign of my website, so I am selling a bunch of older, traditional media illustrations I have lying about for pretty bargain basement prices. Almost all are published pieces from various magazines or ads, with the exception of two self-promo paintings I did for the Directory of Illustration. All were done before my switch to primarily digital color work, so these are the last vestiges of the real paint, airbrush and mixed media illustrations I did in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.A couple of them are really, REALLY BIG. Click on any to be whisked away to the Studio Store for more details! I will be adding a few other pieces as the days go on as well, so check back! Help get my website redesign done, and get something to hang on your wall to cover that big crack in the sheetrock!

Twins art

This is the most expensive of the pieces, just because of the signatures, and I’m actually auctioning this one on eBay with a “Buy it Now” of $300. I did this painting for the cover of the Minnesota Twins magazine, Aug/Sept 2002 issue. The illustration features caricatures of Twins relief pitchers for the issue’s cover story. The artwork is done on illustration board (which was “peeled” for color separation) in ink, acrylic paint and airbrush. The art board measures 14.75 x 19.75 inches, and the illustration 13 x 16.5 inches. The art is in excellent shape, being stored in the artist’s studio.

The original is signed by five of the seven players in sharpie marker: Tony Fiore, LaTroy Hawkins, Mike Jackson, J.C. Romero (twice… he signed on the art and again in pencil in the border at the top) and Eddie Guardado. Depicted but without signatures are Jack Cressend and Bob Wells.

scan0055As it appeared on the cover of the magazine.

Other pieces for sale in the Studio Store:


Promotional piece for Directory of Illustration 1997, 15″ x 20″- $125

Promo 2_soldPromotional piece for Directory of Illustration 1996, 20″ x 26.5″ (!!)- $125

JesseJesse Ventura for Airbrush Action Sept/Oct 1999. 16.5″ x 22″ (!!)- $100

karaokeFull page illustration for San Diego Magazine, 1996. 12″ x 15″- $75

Jewel_soldJewel for TIME Digital magazine- 11.5″ 12″- $50

ArnieArnold Schwarzenegger for TIME Digital magazine. 11.25″ x 12″- $50

Frank_soldFrank Sinatra for Celebrity Book advertisement, 7.5″ x 10″- $50

balkSan Francisco Giants magazine Spot Illustration April/May 1996. 7.5″ x 10″- $50


San Francisco Giants magazine Spot Illustration May/June 1996. 7.5″ x 10″- $50


San Francisco Giants magazine Spot Illustration June/July 1997. 7.5″ x 10″- $50

Z-People Comic

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

sitcomicsA month or two ago a posted a teaser about a comic book project I am working on for SitComics called “Z-People”. It’s a humorous zombie story written and published by television comedy writer Darin Henry. Originally I was going to do pencils, inks and color on everything but the comic is going to be 45 pages of story and in the interest of getting it done and out on time, colorist K Michael Russell has come on board to do the color work.

Darin has posted a couple of sneak peeks of the first few pages on the official Sitcomics Facebook page, pencils/ink by me and color by K Michael Russell:

Zpeople_01_WEBPage 1

Zpeople_02-03_WEBpages 2 and 3 are a spread


Page 4

The comic should be out sometime this summer.


Saturday, February 21st, 2015


Doud Gilford was so moved by the outpouring of sadness over the closing of his incredible MAD Cover Site that he has reinstated it! Hooray for all of MAD fandom, and a humongous THANK YOU to Doug for keeping this institution alive. From the MCS:

Because my act of removing the site has been likened to a crime against humanity,
because researchers are being left in the lurch in the middle of their books, films, and websites,
because I’ve been taken aback by the outpouring of genuine love and well-wishing through too many correspondences,
I hereby reinstate Doug Gilford’s Mad Cover Site for who knows how long.
Are you really surprised?
I am.
Wow, not even a week!
What I have learned in the last few days is that the thing is bigger than me and should survive.
I should be able to limit my role and be happier.
I can’t take MAD Facebook groups anymore, so THANKYOU Adam for replacing my old group with
the much better Mad Mumblings, and thanks for the many supportive and patient words of wisdom.
Let’s speak no more of this.
No more great write-ups, Tom.
Charlie, you were right.
Now get off my lawn!

One Weird Editor…

Friday, February 13th, 2015

I guess “Weird Al” Yankovic is moonlighting in the publication biz these days. Al tweeted recently that he will be the first ever “guest” editor for MAD Magazine in issue #533, due out in April.


The official MAD Press release:

“The Usual Gang of Idiots” are getting a new Idiot-in-Chief! Celebrated musical satirist and comedian “Weird Al” Yankovic, the biggest-selling comedy recording artist in history, will helm the next issue of MAD as the legendary humor magazine’s first-ever guest editor.

Winner of the 2015 Grammy® for Best Comedy Album, Weird Al is the writer of some of the biggest song parodies in history.

Speaking from the MAD offices in New York, current “Idiot-in-Chief” John Ficarra said, “Al will surely ruin his nearly four decades of popularity by associating with MAD. I still can’t believe we talked him into it!”

Among Weird Al’s many duties will be writing an introduction to the issue, contributing (along with some of his celebrity friends) to the Fund”AL”ini Pages, and picking his favorite MAD article for the Vault section. Other ridiculous responsibilities are yet to be determined but will certainly do nothing to advance his career.

“It was my childhood dream to one day be a contributor to MAD Magazine,” said Weird Al. “This is an excellent example of why children are never allowed to make important decisions.”

Readers are invited to make Weird Al’s life even harder by sending letters for MAD’s Letters and Tomatoes section at letters@madmagazine.com. Weird Al will provide dumb answers to the dumbest questions.

Start saving your dollars because MAD #533 will hit newsstands on April 21 at an absurd price!

The good news is there is a chance, probably still very small but A CHANCE, that this issue of MAD might actually be funny. No hope for the artwork of course, but the jokes….

Mort Drucker First NCS Medal of Honor Award Honoree

Thursday, February 5th, 2015


From the National Cartoonists Society Website:

The incomparable Mort Drucker will be the inaugural honoree of the “NCS Medal of Honor” at the 69th Annual National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards taking place in Washington D.C. on May 23rd, 2015.

The NCS Medal of Honor is a new award instituted by the NCS board of directors in the fall of 2014, and Drucker was chosen as the very first recipient of the Medal by unanimous vote. The Medal of Honor is a lifetime achievement award bestowed upon a cartoonist “in recognition of a long and distinguished career of continued excellence in cartooning that has set the highest of standards and inspiration.”

Drucker began his career as an assistant on the comic book Debbie Dean, Career Girl in 1947. Quickly moving on as a “retouch” artist for DC comics where he corrected work on many DC titles, he eventually took on the full art duties on DC titles like War Stories and The Adventures of Bob Hope. In the early 1950’s he began freelancing, and his work has appeared in countless books, magazines (including several covers for TIME), movie posters, and advertising. In the mid 80’s he collaborated on a daily comic strip called Benchley, syndicated by the Register and Tribune Syndicate. It was in 1956 when he began working for MAD Magazine that his best known work would begin. In the pages of MAD his gift for caricature and comic storytelling elevated the magazine’s film and television parodies to the status of pop culture icon. His MAD parody work both created and defined the film/TV satire genre, earning him the praise of notable Hollywood actors and directors as well as fellow cartoonists for over half a century. Drucker has won numerous awards from the NCS, including the Reuben Award for “Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year” in 1987.

According to NCS president Tom Richmond, the NCS Medal of Honor is a sister award to the “Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award”, which was instituted in 1994 and is only able to be awarded to an artist who has not previously won the Reuben. Richmond felt excluding some of the greatest cartoonists of all time from being honored for lifetime achievement was a situation that needed addressing.

“Over the years I have fielded many inquiries about why certain artists have not been honored by the Caniff, which was the NCS’s only lifetime achievement award,” Richmond clarified. “I had to explain over and over that the Caniff was created to honor cartoonists who had not won the Reuben, and if an artist had won the Reuben they were ineligible for the Caniff. That seemed to be counter intuitive. How can you eliminate anyone from being honored for a lifetime of excellence in our profession because they once received an award for one year of outstanding work?”

After discussing the issue, the NCS board decided to create a second lifetime achievement award that could be bestowed on past Reuben winners, rather than redefine the by-laws governing eligibility for the Caniff award.

“The Caniff was created to honor cartoonists who had never received the Reuben but who had a long and distinguished career of excellence that deserved recognition,” Richmond explains. “We felt the spirit of that award needed to be kept intact. Creating the Medal of Honor was an obvious solution. Now any cartoonist can be considered for an NCS lifetime achievement award. If they’ve never won the Reuben, they would receive the Caniff. If they have won the Reuben, they would get the Medal of Honor. Both are NCS Lifetime Achievement awards, and once you are recognized by one you don’t need the other. ”

As for Mort Drucker being the first recipient of the Medal, Richmond said: “That was a very quick nomination and unanimous decision by the board. When every year in their acceptance speeches at the Reubens multiple award winners cite Mort as one of their biggest inspirations, it’s pretty obvious the influence his work has had over the last fifty plus years.”

“He’s a cartoonist’s cartoonists, and the personal hero of many… including myself. Mort is a very deserving and fitting first honoree of this award.”

There was some trepidation about adding yet another award to a long list of NCS awards, but I could not be more pleased that the board approved this. The Reuben is supposed to be awarded for “Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year”, meaning it honors a cartoonist for exemplary work in the year for which it’s awarded. Why that would exclude anyone from later being honored for an entire lifetime of exemplary work never made much sense to me. That said, I understood why it was important to have an award that honored a cartoonist who never won the Reuben, but perhaps deserved to at some point, and guaranteed to honor someone the NCS had not greatly honored before. As that was the spirit in which the Caniff award was created I didn’t think it right to change that either. A second, and equal, lifetime achievement award was an easy way to fix that problem. The NCS Medal of Honor is different in terms of form and presentation from the Caniff, but the same in terms of honoring someone for a lifetime of excellence. I am also pleased Mort will be the first recipient. His career and legacy is among the very highest in the history of cartooning. A worthy award to a very worthy artist.

Illustration for GQ Magazine

Friday, January 30th, 2015

0215 Parting Shot 2Clicky to Embiggen…

I did the above piece a month or two ago for an issue of GQ Magazine that just hit the stands—it’s a gag article about how the NFL is trying to make the Superbowl more woman-friendly. Some of the gags:

  • Players have to wear Spanx rather than football pants
  • Susan B. Anthony painted on all the game balls
  • Mood lighting and aroma therapy in the bathrooms
  • Katy Perry doing the halftime show

Fun project and cool new client. Hope to do more work for them in the future.

2015 Reuben Awards Cover Art and Speakers

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

2015 Reuben cover ArtClockwise from far left: Nick Galifianakis, Mort Drucker,
Brian Crane, Doug Mahnke, Mark Anderson, Jeff Keane,
Ann Telnaes and Juana Medina- (Clicky to Embiggen)

Members of the National Cartoonists Society will be receiving the official brochure for the 2015 Reuben Award Weekend in their mailboxes in the next week or so. My cover art above. With it goes the announcements of the speaker lineup and special award winners:

  • Mort Drucker- First recipient of the “NCS Medal of Honor”; Speaker
  • Jeff Keane- Recipient of the NCS “Silver T-Square” for outstanding dedication to the Society
  • Brian Crane- Reuben winning creator of the syndicated comic strip “Pickles”; speaker
  • Doug Mahnke- Superstar comic book artist; speaker
  • Mark Anderson- Gag cartoonist, “Andertoons.com”; speaker
  • Juana Medina- Illustrator, first recipient of the Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship; speaker
  • Nick Galifianakis- Cartoonist, author, illustrator; speaker
  • Ann Telnaes, Pulitizer prize winning editorial cartoonist; moderating a panel on “Cartooning and Free Speech”

Great line up. Hoping everyone will still be talking to me after they see these caricatures I did of them. Pastis still won’t return my phone calls.

TMAoC Sixth Printing!

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015


As I speak… uh… type, my book The Mad Art of Caricature is running its sixth printing since its release in November of 2011. Copies will be arriving here sometime in early March, depending on the shipping strikes on the west coast. The book will definitely sell out both with me and Amazon before the new printing arrives. Your mileage with bookstore stock may vary.

I am truly floored by the staying power of this book. I figured I’d sell a ton of them to caricaturists right away and then see it trickle into obscurity with continued but small sales levels for years after. Instead, sales both in bookstores through my distributor and via Amazon, have settled into a respectable and steady level. This sixth printing will bring the total number of copies of TMAoC in print to over 20,000. That’s a lot of books.

My thanks to everyone who has bought a copy. I get many positive comments about it from friends and strangers alike… the best compliment being “I really learned something from your book”. It took me a long time to get off my ass and write this thing, and I am very glad I did.


The Grand Comic Con Experiment

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Comic ConThe Lovely Anna at NYCC, ready to help you!

I tried a bit of an experiment in 2014… doing a lot of comic book conventions. This is something I hadn’t ever done in the past because, well, MAD is sort of the red-headed stepchild of that kind of crowd. Yes, everyone’s heard of it and the magazine has a core group of devoted fans, but it isn’t the sort of thing that gets people to stand in line unless your name is Drucker, Jaffee, Aragonès or others of legendary stature. Still, in the last few years I did start to have something I did not have before… stuff to sell. I have my book, and the LE prints I have been doing. I also bring along original MAD art, which I only occasionally sell any of because I charge a lot for them as I’d rather keep it than sell it for cheap. It does give people something to look at, though. Of course I also do drawings, caricatures of people and commissions of celebrities or whatever. So, in the last year or so I’ve done conventions big and small. I did smaller cons in Dallas, Grand Rapids and Pittsburgh last year as well as big ones in Chicago, New York and San Diego.

What I discovered is that, while often more fun and interesting to be a part of, the smaller conventions don’t pay enough of the bills to make sense doing. It was great meeting people and the folks who run these conventions are very hospitable and take great care of their guests, but at the end of the day it’s time away from the studio and that only makes sense if the dollars roughly match up. Sad, but basic economics. In most cases I was a guest at these cons where they generously paid for my travel and lodging expenses, and even then sales at the end of the day just didn’t make sense. That is not their fault, it’s mine. I don’t have what their attendees are looking for. As much as I appreciated the invitation and the generosity, I won’t be doing many (or any) of these smaller cons anymore. I cancelled my appearance in Monterrey, Mexico next month and turned down a few offers to be a guest at other cons. I feel like I’m taking their money and not bringing any people in for them, besides not making enough myself for it to be financially viable.

That’s the bad news. The good news is several of the larger cons I did were terrific. I drew my ass off and we did great in book, print and even some original art sales. So here are a few comic cons you’ll see me at in 2015:

New York is not guaranteed because, unlike most comic cons, you are required to reapply and get approved for a space there every year. That is actually a really cool policy, because it means you don’t have “squatters” who keep taking up space and not giving anyone else a chance to get in. I gave up trying to get into conventions like Megacon or Emerald City Con because the waiting lists were ridiculous.

The even better news is I will have my own booth this year at San Diego. Look for me in space G-04! There will be more news about commissions and other new stuff when the new website debuts here in the next few weeks.

Hope to see you at one of these shows!


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