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Erin Russell wins Charles M. Schulz award for top college cartoonist

Erin Russell, a senior at the University of Michigan, has won the Charles M. Schulz Award for college cartooning. Her comic strip Jaded Joy runs in The Michigan Daily and is described as a comic that “chronicles the drama of a spirited 7 year-old girl named Joy, who is intelligent, independent, keenly observant, and a bit of a cynic. And, like the real world, Joy’s classmates are a refreshing rainbow of ethnicities and cultures. Jaded Joy, with its menagerie of slightly confused, but loveable [sic], first graders will make you chuckle.”

You can see samples of her feature online at Erin writes that her dream is to become the first female african-american to be nationally syndicated.

The finalists for the award include: Sakura M. Christmas, attending Harvard University, and Lucy Knisley, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Community Comments

#1 Charles Brubaker
@ 10:38 am

Congrats to Erin.

Out of curiosity, does anyone have a complete list of Charles M. Schulz Award winners?

#2 Doug Johnson
@ 1:14 pm

Charles M. Schulz Award Winners
(Back to 1995)

2006 Erin Russell, University of Michigan

2005 Russell Gottwaldt, Art Institute of Chicago

2004 Nathaniel Creekmore, Libscomb University

2003 Nathaniel Creekmore, Libscomb University

2002 Steven Olexa, University of Tennessee

2001 Nate Beeler, American University

2000 Baryy Deutsch, Portland State Univ.

1999 Ryan Pagelow, Ohio University

1998 Audra Furuichi, University of Hawaii

1997 Brian Fairrinton, Arizona State Univ.

1996 Jody Lindke, University of Nevada

1995 Alan Gardner, Utah State University

#3 Alan Gardner
@ 5:34 pm

The Alan Gardner listed here is indeed me, but alas, I was only a finalist that year. The award went to Drew Shenaman. Out of curiosity, I did a bit of Googling for a “Where are they now” moment. Here’s what I found:

2005 Russell Gottwaldt – Appears that he’s still in school

2004 Nathaniel R. Creekmore – His feature “Maintaining” launches in May through Universal Press

2003 Nathaniel R. Creekmore – His feature “Maintaining” launches in May through Universal Press

2002 Steven Olexa – Went into graphic novels

2001 Nate Beeler – Editorial cartoonist for The Washington Examiner

2000 Barry Deutsch – He appears to be an illustrator, editorial cartoonist in Portland, OR

1999 Ryan Pagelow – created self-syndicated comic “Green Planet”

1998 Audra Ann Furuichi – UNKNOWN

1997 Brian Farrington – Currently a syndicated editorial cartoonist through Cagle Cartoons

1996 Jody D. Lindke – UNKNOWN

1995 Drew Sheneman – Currently editorial cartoonist for the The Newark Star Ledger

1994 Duk Cho – (AKA Frank Cho) – created Liberty Meadows that ran from 1997-2001; does mostly comic book work now

1993 John de Rosier – Currently editorial cartoonist at Times-Union (Albany, NY)

1992 No award given

1991 Steve Breen – Current editorial cartoonist for The San Diego Union-Tribune; won the Pulitzer in 1998

1990 Kerry Soper – Currently an associate professor of Humanities and American Studies at Brigham Young University

1989 Nick Anderson – Currently editorial cartoonist for Houston Chronicle; won the Pulitzer in 2005

1988 Christopher Kalb – co-creator of animated series “Break-up Girl”

1987 Michael L. Thompson – Currently editorial cartoonist for Detroit Free Press; one of this years Pulitzer finalist

1986 V.Gene Myers – Unclear what his day job is – he teaches many cartooning classes

1985 Thomas Cheney – His cartoons frequent the New Yorker magazine

1984 Richard Orlin – UNKNOWN

1983 Frank Pauer – Art director of The University of Dayton Quarterly.

1982 Harley Schwadron – Created syndicated comic panel “9 to 5”

1981 Paul Kolsti – unclear. There was a Paul Kolsti who was an editorial cartoonist, illustrator that died in 2003. Unclear if it’s the same guy.

1980 Richard Codor – went into animation

#4 Doug Johnson
@ 7:41 pm


It looks like the website said that Erin Russell wanted to become the first black female to have a nationally syndicated DAILY comic strip.

Jackie Ormes, creator of the comic strip, Torchy Brown, was the first black female cartoonist with a nationally syndicated weekly strip in 1937.

Barbara Brandon-Croft, creator of the now defunct Where I’m Coming From (Universal) was the second black female cartoonist with a nationally syndicated weekly strip in 1989.

And, Alan, I’m sorry about the mix-up on the results for 1995. I must have mis-read the results. Thanks for posting this really interesting info.

I really like Erin’s Jaded Joy strip. It definitely has a younger pop culture flavor.

#5 Brian Fairrington
@ 12:12 am

Great Charles Schulz Award list, I’ve never seen a complete list before. Even though it lists me as a 1997 winner I actually did not win until 1998 (but it was for 1997 cartoons I guess)

Secondly, I tried to enter again after I won but was told off the record that they don’t award it to past winners, so I believe I was only a finalist the following year.

I see there has been a two time winner recently….and at 10 grand a pop! It was only $2500 back when I won. Winning 20 grand in college would have been like winning the lottery! haha- Anyway, well deserved and congrats to all this years winners.

#6 Charles Brubaker
@ 3:36 am

Thanks for the list?

But didn’t D.C. Simpson win the Schulz award at least once? He was drawing a comic called “Ozy and Millie” for his college paper (which is still running, as a webcomic)

#7 Charles Brubaker
@ 3:49 am

Never mind. Turned out he was only a finalist.

#8 Rich
@ 8:54 am

Congrats to Erin on the award. I like the samples at her web site. Good choice of stip name.

Well, based on Doug’s research, the dream to become the first female african-american to be nationally syndicated isn’t going to happen, but I’m sure just being nationally syndicated works too! Good luck with that, looks like you’re off to a goodd start.

#9 Frank Pauer
@ 11:45 am

I should note that, for all of us “older” guys nearer the bottom of the list, you didn’t have to be an enrolled college student to enter the competition then. It was open to anyone who wanted to further their craft, and the $2,000 at that time helped a lot. I took the money, and then two weeks off work (I was a cartoonist at the Dayton Daily News/Journal Herald), drove up to NYC and Connecticut and visited as many cartoonists as I could. Winning the award was pretty cool then. Still is.

#10 Richard Orlin
@ 9:26 pm

Alan: I’m not “unknown”. I just haven’t done any cartooning since I went to work for the Federal government in 1993. I’ve been traveling around the world, courtesy of the Foreign Service. Probably a lot of usable material there, but I’ve been too busy earning a living. Perhaps when I retire I will take up the pen again.

#11 Steve Weller
@ 3:13 pm

Congrats! I tried to win that a few years back and thought they had stopped running it! Maybe I’ll enter it again this year…
“Scootah Steve”
Utah State University
Alan Gardner’s Alma Mater

#12 The Daily Cartoonist | News and blog about comic strips, editorial cartoons, cartoons
@ 1:39 am

[…] for a second time in a row; Steve Benson took home the Scripps Howard National Journalism Award; Erin Russell won the Charles M. Schulz award for top college cartoonist and Walt Handelsman, Nick Anderson, Mike Thompson’s names were leaked as the likely Pulitzer […]

#13 Aaron Teeling
@ 7:30 am

Jody Lindke was talented in various subjects from an early age.
For anyone who every read her comic, she was much like the main character and she drew the supporting cast from people she knew. She also pulled double duty creating political satires for the local Reno newspaper.

She was equally talented in science and math, and there was a point in her life she considered being a doctor. Literature was her favorite and her true calling, which is why you probably haven’t seen her syndicated, (IIRC, although there was interest in her work prior to winning the award).

She married a classmate with the last name of Johnson but I believe she kept her maiden name (Don’t recall exactly why).

Last I heard she was working on a movie manuscript about 4 years ago, trying to pitch it in Hollywood. I assume she is still married.

If anyone knows where she is or how to get a hold of her please let her know that ‘niknup’ has been looking for her and can be found in Virginia.

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