Erie Native Wins America’s Best Newspaper Panel Comic

Contributed photo

Dave Blazek, a Cathedral Prep grad and Penn State Behrend alum, recently won America’s Best Newspaper Panel Comic award for the third time.

The 77th annual Reuben Awards was held in Jersey City, New Jersey on September 7, 2023. Organized by the National Cartoonists Society, it has been described as the “Oscars of the cartoon industry” and it is one of the most prominent awards for those in the field. Award categories include advertising, book illustrations, comic books, graphic novels, gag cartoons, editorial cartoons, magazine and newspaper illustrations, newspaper panels, newspaper comic strips, online comics, and variety entertainment.

At this year’s banquet, Dave Blazek, an Erie native and Cathedral Preparatory School graduate who also attended Penn State Behrend, won his third Reuben Award for America’s Best Newspaper Panel Comic for Loose Parts. He previously won in 2019 and 2020. 

His perspective and humor is as unique as it is funny. Loose Parts has been described as “oddly intelligent, weirdly entertaining, and impulsively funny.” He earned a degree in journalism from Penn State University, before entering the world of advertising. He then dabbled in stand-up comedy before he started making comics around twenty years ago with a colleague at the Philadelphia Inquirer

“I knew how to set up a joke, so the comics editor at the Inquirer started to show me submissions, asking my opinion,” he recalled in an interview with Penn State Behrend. “I always told him I could do better, and one day he called me on it. He said, ‘Do it, then.’ … I worked at it every day, and I learned enough to bluff my way through it.”

Today, he writes and draws these comics from his home studio in Valley Forge, Pa., just on the edge of Valley Forge National Park. Loose Parts is part of the Andrews McMeel Syndication, whose other products include Doonesbury, Ziggy, Garfield and previously Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side.

You can learn more about and read Loose Parts at www.loosepartscomic.com.

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