NCS award nominees have been announced

The National Cartoonist Society has announced the nominees for the various awards that will be given out during the Reuben weekend May 27th in Orlando this year. Here is the breakdown on who’s up for what:

Cartoonist of the Year

  • Bill Amend
  • Dave Coverly
  • Dan Piraro

Feature Animation

  • Peter De Seve, Character Design (Fox) “Ice Age 2: The Meltdown”
  • Carter Goodrich, Character Design (Sony) “Open Season”
  • Tim Johnson and Karey Kirkpatrick, Directors (Dreamworks) “Over The Hedge”

Magazine Feature/Magazine Illustration

  • Steve Brodner
  • Tom Richmond
  • Jean-Jacques Sempe

Comic Book

  • Cancer Vixen by Marisa Acocella Marchetto
  • American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
  • Chicken With Plums by Marjane Satrapi

Newspaper Illustration

  • Sean Kelly
  • Robert Sanchuk
  • Laurie Triefeldt

Advertising Illustration

  • Craig McKay
  • Jack Pittman
  • Tom Richmond

Newspaper Panels

  • Tony Carillo, “F Minus”
  • Keiran Meehan, “Meehan”
  • Hilary Price, “Rhymes With Orange”

Book Illustration

  • Mike Lester, 93 In My Family
  • Wiley Miller, The Extraordinary Adventures Of Ordinary Basil
  • Adrian Sinnott, Caveman Manners

Newspaper Comic Strips

  • Bill Griffith, “Zippy The Pinhead”
  • Stephan Pastis, “Pearls Before Swine”
  • Mark Tatulli, “Lio”

Television Animation

  • (David Hulin) “Geico Gecko”
  • Steve Loter, “Kim Possible”
  • Craig McCracken, “Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends”

Greeting Cards

  • Kevin Ahern
  • Pat Byrnes
  • Carla Ventresca

Gag Cartoons

  • Drew Dernavich
  • Mick Stevens
  • P.C. Vey

Editorial Cartoons

  • Mike Lester
  • Glenn McCoy
  • Mike Ramirez

So let the speculation begin. I’ll take the first swing – at least on the categories I have an opinion on. For Cartoonist of the Year – I’m going to predict Bill Amend. He’s semi-retired and I think the judges will give him the award as an acknowledgment of his career. For Newspaper Panels – hmm. not sure. Book illustration could go to any of the three but I’m going to put Wiley in for the win. This is his first foray into children’s books and it did really well. That will carry some weight in the judging, methinks. Newspaper Comic Strips is going to go with Mark Tatulli. Hands down Lio was the big hit last year and should be recognized. And the last category that I’ll go out on a limb and predict is for editorial cartooning. I personally think it should go to Michael Ramirez. He’s a master at the art. E&P notes that all three are conservatives which is interesting. Since it’s unlikely that a conservative is going to win a Pulitzer anytime soon, it’s nice to know they’re05 still loved. Somewhere.

Okay, I’ve opened up my can ‘o worms. Post your predictions in the comments. We’ll come back the day after the results and see who came in the closest.

29 thoughts on “NCS award nominees have been announced

  1. From my understanding, at least one conservative cartoonist won Pulitzer (Michael Ramirez). Any others?

  2. Tom Richmond, whose name makes the above list of nominees twice, has released the t-shirt design for this year’s weekend.
    It features caricatures of the speakers for the Dinner.
    Any mention of the Silver T-Square or Milt Caniff recipients?

  3. There have been several conservatives that have won the pulitzer over the years (ramirez, breen, benson (when he was a conservative), macnelly, locher). But it has been a while since a conservative has took the prize.

  4. Just a clarification. The Reuben is voted on by the entire NCS membership, not by judges. There is no Milt Caniff award this year and the Silver T-square is being given to Luke and Joe Mcgarry for their contributions to the NCS weekends these past several years and for their designing and producing the NCS website.

  5. Aww, the Reuben Awards…

    Looks like a decent list. Except for Open Season, other than perhaps Boog the bear, it had some of the WORST designed characters I’ve seen in awhile. In Ice Age 2 they actually did a decent job of perfecting/updating the characters without changing the original movie’s look too much. Over the Hedge looked awesome (except for the humans as usual, but then, name a movie besides The Incredibles that had good-looking 3D humans), two words: turtle butt.

    And has Zippy the Pinhead gotten better in the last few years or something? No, seriously, last time I read it–which was awhile ago–it was one of the most annoyingly surreal ‘the-joke’s-on-the-reader’ comics I’ve seen. I could go further and rant about it, but if anyone remembers Dogbert’s “Pippy the Ziphead” series from way back, that pretty much sums up by opinion of the strip, “Better cram some more art in there.” But if it’s improved with age, then may the best comic win.

    Glad to see Bill Amend on the list. And Lio vs. Pearls Before Swine? I wouldn’t know which to pick! Pearls would probably edge out Lio just because I read Pearls everyday vs. Lio every so often. And go Wiley and the Geico Gecko!!

    Now I want a sandwich.

  6. I agree. This list is head and shoulders above some of the nominees and winners from the last few years. Welcome to the 21st Century, NCS!

  7. Best Cartoonist — Yeah, this’ll definitely be Bill Amend, just to celebrate his excellent career which has semi-ended. Coverly’s “Speed Bump” and Piraro’s “Bizarro” are two of my favorite panels, but I think it will be Amend.

    Best Comic Strip — I agree with your “Lio” prediction. It was a huge hit in its first year and Tatulli’s art is awesome. The creative process must be extremely challenging for a wordless strip — he has to figure out how to convey everything through the art. He has suceeded and proven his mettle as one of the best cartoonists today. “Pearls Before Swine,” while always witty and one of my favorites, had what I felt was its weakest year in 2006. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve read it from the start and that is my opinion. (It has picked up as of late, I think, though.) As for “Zippy the Pinhead,” has it really improved that much? I haven’t read it in ages either!
    Other predictions of mine: “Rhymes With Orange” for Best Panel, “American-Born Chinese” for Best Comic Book, “Geico Gecko” for Best TV Animation, “Ice Age 2” for Best Feature Animation, and Glenn McCoy for Editorial Cartoonist.

    That’s all for now; can’t wait for the results.

  8. >>>And has Zippy the Pinhead gotten better in the last few years or something? No, seriously, last time I read itâ??which was awhile agoâ??it was one of the most annoyingly surreal â??the-jokeâ??s-on-the-readerâ?? comics Iâ??ve seen.

    The NCS division awards are art awards. Although in recent years some NCS juries give equal or even greater weight to the writing when it comes to strips and panels and is a huge source of debate withing the NCS community. I can see both sides of the argument. Many purists believe that the writing should never be considered since writing isn’t a factor in the illustration categories. But others state the case that a comic strip or panel’s writing is an intergral part of what makes them work. It’s a debate that will never be settled to the satisfaction of either side. We just do our best to nominate worthy candidates.

  9. “The NCS division awards are art awards…..”

    Okay, thanks for the info. Art-wise, Zippy is unquestionably good. Personally I think I’m on the side of the fence where strips and panels should be considered as a whole. The writing and art are a 50/50 split of which is important, I think. I mean, you have to be both writer and artist (unless you’re on a team) in order to be any good at it don’t you?

    Although, some comics you could write out the joke and readers would mostly get it. Whereas the art by itself with no words? Unless you’re cut from the same cloth as Bill Watterson (preferably without hermititis) the joke/message/meaning won’t really stand on its own. But that’s just me.

  10. Interesting. I didn’t know the awards were considered “art awards.” Seems to go against what comic strip and gag cartooning is — a marriage of writing and art.

    I’m not a member of the NCS, but I would think that the entire package — art and writing — should be considered. And my gut tells me that’s what most members/judges do (even if they don’t say so.)

    Actually, I think you should do away with all nominating fall-dee-rall and just give all the awards to Glenn and Gary McCoy. (Note smiley face) 🙂


  11. Saying you’ve given a comic strip an award based on art as opposed to writing is like saying you’re giving a Grammy to U2 for the music but not the lyrics. It makes no sense. It’s all part of an inseparable whole.

  12. Scott Nickel wrote:

    “Actually, I think you should do away with all nominating fall-dee-rall and just give all the awards to Glenn and Gary McCoy. (Note smiley face) :)”

    Sounds like you’ve been to a few Reubens because that’s exactly what the NCS poobahs do.

  13. tim wrote: “Saying youâ??ve given a comic strip an award based on art as opposed to writing is like saying youâ??re giving a Grammy to U2 for the music but not the lyrics. It makes no sense. Itâ??s all part of an inseparable whole.”

    Tim, you’re exactly right.

    Through this thread, outsiders may be gaining an inside view of what the NCS is really like, and may not feel so bad they’re outsiders.

  14. The NCS is an organization of professional artists, and as such, the society annually recognizes the “best artist of the year” in a dozen or so different disciplines.

    Each year, the NCS convenes regional juries of knowledgeable professionals, assigns each jury a category to judge, and then requires them to examine and assess the work of the candidates.

    What the NCS doesn’t do is attempt to legislate thought processes. Different jurors may each have a different sense of what makes a creator the outstanding artist of the year in a particular discipline.

    In some categories it is readily apparent that the writing is immaterial – the writing plays no part in newspaper or magazine illustration, for example, where an art director will invariably instruct the artist as to exactly what is required to illustrate an article.

    In other categories, the lines begin to blur. In Magazine, does the NCS instruct the jury to consider Mort Drucker or Jack Davis inferior to Sergio Aragones because they don’t write their Mad Mag contributions and Sergio does? Of course not.

    In the animation categories, the jury may decide to nominate a creator, a lead animator or a particularly gifted director. In comic books, the nominee may be a writer/artist, or it may be someone who works entirely from someone else’s script.

    In all cases, the NCS expects that common sense will prevail, and that the work be judged on merits. Which may explain why both Matt Groening, the creator, and David Silverman, the director, have received NCS awards for their work on The Simpsons.

    In the case of strips, the lines become even more blurred. Some creators work in partnership with a writer, others buy gags from outside sources, for example, many uses assistants for inking, coloring, etc.

    So, in strips, is Jim Borgman to be deemed a lesser artist than Stephan Pastis because he doesn’t write the “Zits” strip? That would be silly. (And both have recently won in the strips category.) Was John Cullen Murphy a lesser creator than Mell Lazarus because he didn’t write gags? Of course not.

    So … the NCS cannot instruct jurors to consider the writing in panels and strips, because that would put those who don’t write at a disadvantage. Nor can it insist that the humor be considered, because that would exclude adventure strips, etc.
    Instead, the NCS relies on the expertise and common sense of the jurors.

    However, we are all well aware that some jurors will prefer a beautiful illustration to a poorly-constructed strip that made them chuckle – and vice versa. Which is why Rick concedes that the subject is food for debate within NCS ranks.

    Each jury is composed of professionals, but the individual thought processes may differ wildly. A female juror may be less inclined to admire the penmanship of a Hustler cartoonist when adjudicating Magazine Gags … a Bush supporter may be less inclined to chuckle at a Luckovich Editorial Cartoon … a liberal-leaning juror may be more readily disposed to preferring a Lalo Alcaraz strip over the work ofScott Stantis. That’s just the quirks of human nature.

    No two juries are ever the same – which explains why last year’s jury may feel that Marcus Hamilton gets a nomination in the same Panels category as Tony Carillo this year. Their work, their roles, and their features couldn’t be more different – yet both are nominated.

    Over the years, I’ve seen nominations that I appluded enthusiastically, and others that made me blink in astonishment. But that’s the nature of the democratic beast – strips that make me consider poking my eyes with a sharp instrument may well be your personal favorite.

    In all cases, the NCS can’t legislate aesthetics and individual sensibilities … and doesn’t attempt to.

    I’m not really sure why this process would lead “outsiders” to gain “an inside view of what the NCS is really like, and may not feel so bad they’re outsiders” … but perhaps I missed something in the subtext.

    Steve McGarry

  15. Way to go Steve! Way to just go and put a damper on all our fun whining and conjecture 😉 Who invited you to the water cooler?

    Oh, okay, I guess we were all due a good dose of how it really works! Cheers!

    PS – do be careful around those sharp instruments though!

    Everybody else, just pretend you didn’t read Steve’s explanation and continue …

  16. It’s just supposed to be the art? I had no idea.

    So if I go to a museum should I just look at brushstrokes? Or the finished technical product? Shoul I deny the emotional evocativation? Should my emotional reaction be discounted?

    I am an outsider and I’m not judging or saying I know the answer it just seems to me that if you want to be rewarded for technical merit that’s great, but it semms by your definition that you would disqualify Picasso, van Gogh, Lissitzky, Pollock, Enrst, Klimnt in the process?

  17. Rick … wow! You’re right! I’m slack-jawed amazed, in the words of the late, great Grady Nutt “like a bug on the windshield of life!”

  18. Wait a minute…
    “Meehan”? What’s “Meehan”?
    Under Newspaer Comic Panel, Kieren Meehan is listed as being nominated for “Meehan.”
    I know that Kieren Meehan used to do “Meehan Streak,” and currently does “A Lawyer, a Doctor, and a Cop,” but what is “Meehan”?
    Does anybody know?

  19. I can help with this as I live in Scotland and used to work in Glasgow. Meehan took over the Evening Times spot from Willie Gall, who produced a daily single column cartoon for 50 years before retiring in 2005. Gall’s cartoon appeared on the letters page, separately from the other comics. Space was at a premium, so title and byline were combined under the banner “Gall.” For the same practical reasons, and perhaps for the sake of continuity, Kieran Meehan’s excellent cartoon appears under the banner “Meehan”.

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