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R.C. Harvey recounts the history of the NCS

Comic historian R.C. Harvey writes about the history of the National Cartoonists Society.

Probably, the club would never have coagulated itself into being without the reluctant sponsorship of Rube Goldberg, who, in addition to giving his name to an entry in the dictionary, was the master of ceremonies for the performances in hospitals and, as such, the unofficial but nonetheless anointed leader of the band.

Rube disparaged the idea of an organization of cartoonists because he disliked organizations, and he also felt cartoonists were inherently, by genetic default, disorganized and mutinous. But he also had a good time imbibing and wise-cracking with his professional cohorts whenever they convened for their humanitarian purposes, so he finally agreed to support the idea of a cartoonists club and was soon elected the first president of what became, almost at once, the National Cartoonists Society.

Community Comments

#1 Mark_Tatulli
June/7/2010
@ 8:53 pm

“In actuality, NCS remains today what it had been at the beginning?a drinking club.”

Hahahaha…a drinking club…I like that!

#2 John Read
June/8/2010
@ 5:32 am

Is this the same “R.C. Harvey” Stephan Pastis wants The (Comics) Godfather to “take care of” in that now-classic Reuben film?

#3 rick stromoski
June/8/2010
@ 7:32 am

>>.In actuality, NCS remains today what it had been at the beginning?a drinking club.

Not exactly accurate…

RC neglected to mention that the NCS donates generously to cartoon museums, gives grants and scholarships to up and coming student cartoonists, assists indigent cartoonists and their families, fundraises for children’s hospitals and veterans groups and has an ongoing program of visiting wounded troops. Yes, they tend to drink a lot but they also do a lot of good works…much more so then in it’s humble beginnings.

I do agree with his assessment that it was a shame some giants who were never recognized but that was before most of the current memberships time…it was also when the awards were very newspaper centric..

Awards are subjective, voted on by the membership and inevitably there will be complaints…It’s not perfect…nothing is…it’s constantly being tweaked and discussed how we can do better…

#4 Ted Rall
June/8/2010
@ 8:40 am

It would be better if NCS put an end to the Reuben Awards. No professional organization should purport to define who is best amongst themselves. And this is a classic example: Not only has NCS missed out on “some” giants of the field, the Reubens fail to recognize most of them.

A few years ago, the AAEC considered a similar award. I am happy to report that we decided to stick to what we do best: drinking. And whining about editors.

#5 rick stromoski
June/8/2010
@ 9:09 am

>>It would be better if NCS put an end to the Reuben Awards.

SAG should get rid of the Oscars, Broadway should get rid of the Tonys, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences should do away with the Grammys, and The Academy of Television arts and sciences should scrap the Emmys…then they’d all be as well attended, interesting and fun filled as your typical AAEC convention.

#6 JP Trostle
June/8/2010
@ 1:31 pm

?In actuality, NCS remains today what it had been at the beginning?a drinking club.?

I’m sorry, but the AAEC has already trademarked that. You’ll go have to find your own niche

#7 Steve McGarry
June/8/2010
@ 1:44 pm

The NCS created the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award precisely to correct the oversights of previous years and honor “giants” who never won a Reuben.

#8 Steve McGarry
June/8/2010
@ 2:04 pm

I’ve got an idea … in the spirit of compromise, let’s keep the awards we’ve got and just not introduce any new ones. Then when we get grief for not introducing a “best in web” plaque, we can tell the baying mob that it was Ted Rall’s idea.

#9 Ed Power
June/9/2010
@ 7:19 am

Do webcomics hold their own awards? I mean, I see a bunch on the web, but is any one official or anything? Just curious.

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