The prize is awarded each year by the Foundation for “distinguished examples of original editorial cartooning that exemplify the courageous standard set by Herblock .” Bagley will receive the Prize April 2 in a ceremony at the Library of Congress. The winner receives a $15,000 after-tax cash prize and a sterling silver trophy.
Bagley was the unanimous choice of this year’s panel of judges: Garry Trudeau, Jules Feiffer and John Sherffius.
“If The New Yorker published political cartoons, Bagley would he their main man,” Trudeau said of Bagley’s work. “Bagley’s drawings have the looseness of back-of-the envelope dispatches, yet the speedy strokes belie a rigorous compositional discipline. These are good-looking cartoons,” Trudeau said, adding that Bagley’s “takes on the passing parade are uniformly deft and witty. With just the right balance of caricature, dialogue and labels, he puts the reader away, lickity split, no fuss.”
Sherffius, the winner of last year’s Herblock Prize, said “There is no doubt where Pat Bagley stands on the issues – the opinions expressed in his impressive portfolio ring loud and clear. Combine that with Pat’s political insight, biting humor and colorfully original drawing style, and you’ve got our 2009 winner. Herblock would be very proud.”
Feiffer praised Bagley’s “fresh, direct and witty style in both his ideas and his art.” He called Bagley’s art a “relief, it’s different than people have come to expect.”
Vern Anderson, editorial page editor of the Star Tribune, credits Bagley’s work as “one of the reasons the paper has managed to remain relevant in a rapidly changing media environment.”
Bagley grew up in a Republican family in Southern California where his father was mayor of Oceanside, the sprawling Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base. He remained a Republican until the election of President George W. Bush. “He radicalized me,” Bagley says of Bush.
He describes himself as a moderate Republican who became a liberal independent
during the presidency of George W. Bush. In addition to his cartoons, Bagley has written “101 Ways to Survive Four More Years of George W. Bush” and the “Clueless George” parodies of the children’s “Curious George” books.
Bagley began his editorial cartooning career in 1977 during a finance class at Brigham Young University. He doodle a political cartoon which he submitted to the student newspaper, The Daily Universe. It was his first published cartoon and a few weeks later it was reprinted in Time magazine. Six years later he was featured in People magazine as one of America’s leading editorial cartoonists. After graduation he worked briefly as a caricaturist in a local mall before being hired as the editorial cartoonist at the Salt Lake Tribune where he has remained ever since.
Bagley’s work is syndicated in newspapers in both the United States and abroad. His cartoons have appeared in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal and Guardian of London.