Bill Griffith wins the Reuben Award


The National Cartoonists Society handed out the Reuben awards last night, and Bill Griffith received the “Reuben” Award, the NCS’s highest honor, presented to the “Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year.” The award was presented on stage by Garfield creator, Jim Davis.

Credit: Wikipedia
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Credit: Wikipedia

Griffith is the creator of Zippy the Pinhead but has become known in recent year for his graphic biographies, including this year’s astounding hree Rocks: The Story of Ernie Bushmiller: The Man Who Created Nancy. He is a deserving winner indeed.

The swanky affair was held athe the Hyatt Regency Jersey City. Previous Reuben winners include Charles Schulz, Al Capp, Alex Raymond, Jeff MacNelly, Gary Larson, Bill Waterson, Mike Peters, Garry Trudeau, and Matt Groening.

The NCS sent out a list of winners and an account of the evening which follows. Other honoree include animator Bill Plympton who received the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award, and Brian Walker won the Silver T-Square Award.

Category winners are as follows (you can see the nominees here)

Online Comics- Long form: Phil Foglio (“Girl Genius”)

Online Comics- Short Form: Rich Powell (“Wide Open”)

Newspaper Comic Strip: Will Henry (“Wallace the Brave”)

Newspaper Panel Comic: Dave Blazek (“Loose Parts”)

Comic Books: Ben Bender (“Beorn: The Littlest Viking”)

Graphic Novel: Alex Ross (“Marvel”)

Book Illustration: Ed Steckley (“Rube Goldberg’s Simple Normal Definitely Different Day Off”)

Magazine/Newspaper Illustration: Nick Galifianakis

Advertising/Product Illustration: Dave Whammond

Editorial Cartoons: Matt Davies

Gag Cartoons: Christopher Weyant

Variety Entertainment: Scott Nickel

I imagine there might be some commentary about these winners, so….the comment box is below. 

And more information from the NCS:

The evening’s awards opened with a comedic musical sketch by cartoonist and Simpsons writing alum, Tom Gammill. Gammill appeared as the ghost of Ernie Bushmiller, the creator of Nancy, joined from beyond the grave by his old pal, Milton Caniff (played by cartoonist Sean Kelly) to joke about the new world of cartooning. The crowd of nearly 300 cartoonists and industry professionals were in stitches before the awards had even commenced.

A cavalcade of comedic moments unfolded as each divisional award category was presented by an iconic cartoonist representing each cartooning discipline.

Charles Kochman, Editor-In-Chief of Abrams ComicArts who published GRiffith’s latest, says of his friend and client:

“When I met Bill Griffith almost ten years ago, I was surprised to discover that he had never won a single award for his work. This was not something that bothered him—in typical Griffy fashion, he wore the Susan Lucci slight as a badge of honor, and, like Groucho Marx, never wanted to belong to any club that would have someone like him for a member.

The reality is that Bill Griffith created Zippy in 1971, and, since 1986, it has been syndicated by King Features. In addition to writing and illustrating a syndicated comic strip seven days a week for thirty-seven years without any assistants, Bill Griffith has somehow—only recently—found the time to research, write, and illustrate three (thus far) longform graphic novels.

I know Cartoonist of the Year is not a lifetime achievement award, but it’s hard to look at the work Bill does every day (the crosshatching alone) and not shake your head and, as Zippy would say, exclaim “Yow!”

So, like it or not, Bill, you are now a Reuben Award winner. Welcome to the club—you earned it.”

Bill Plympton is the first person to draw a feature-length film entirely by hand; he’s been nominated for two animation Oscars and has made 10 feature films since 1991.
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Bill Plympton is the first person to draw a feature-length film entirely by hand; he’s been nominated for two animation Oscars and has made 10 feature films since 1991.

Animator Bill Plympton Receives the NCS Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award

The “Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award” is given for a long career of outstanding work to a cartoonist who has not previously won a Reuben, and is awarded by unanimous vote of the NCS Board of Directors. This year the “Caniff” was presented to animation legend Bill Plympton.

Plympton is considered the King of Indie Animation, and is the first person to hand draw an entire animated feature film. He moved to New York City from Portland, Oregon in 1968 and began his career creating cartoons for publications such as New York Times, National Lampoon, Playboy and Screw. In 1987, he was nominated for an Academy Award for his animated short “Your Face”. In 2005, Plympton received another Academy Award nomination, this time for his short “Guard Dog”. “Push Comes to Shove” won the prestigious Cannes 1991 Prix du Jury; and in 2001, another short film, “Eat”, won the Grand Prize for Short Films in Cannes Critics’ Week.

After producing many shorts that appeared on MTV and Spike and Mike’s, he turned his talent to feature films. Since 1991, he’s made eleven feature films. Eight of them are all animated features.

Bill Plympton has also collaborated with Madonna, Kanye West and Weird Al Yankovic in a number of music videos and book projects.

The Caniff was presented by award-winning illustrator Peter de Sève.

Brian Walker Honored with the NCS Silver T-Square Award

The “Silver T-Square” is awarded, by unanimous vote of the NCS Board, to persons who have demonstrated outstanding dedication or service to the Society or the profession. This year the NCS recognized Brian Walkers’s long-standing commitment to the National Cartoonist Society, our members, the cartooning community and its fandom with a “Silver T-Square”

Brian Walker has had a diverse background in professional cartooning and cartoon scholarship: He is a founder and former director of the Museum of Cartoon Art, where he worked for nearly 20 years. He has written, edited or contributed to forty-five books on cartoon art, including the definitive history, The Comics – The Complete Collection published by Abrams ComicArts.

He taught cartoon history at the School of Visual Arts and has served as curator for seventy five cartoon exhibitions including The Sunday Funnies: 100 Years of Comics in American Life, at the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, Connecticut, 100 Years of American Comics at the Belgian Center for Comic Art in Brussels, Masters of American Comics at the Hammer Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and George Herriman – Krazy Kat is Krazy Kat is Krazy Kat at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. He is the founder and current chairman of the Connecticut Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society, and has been an invaluable part of the NCS community for decades.

His remarkable commitment to the cartooning industry has been made on top of his duties as part of the creative team that produces the comic strips, Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois for nearly 40 years.

Walker said the timing of the award was of special significance, coming on the week of what would have been the 100th birthday of his late father, cartooning legend Mort Walker.

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