Herblock remembered 10 years after passing

The Washington Post is commemorating the 10 year anniversary of the passing their editorial cartoonist Herb Block (or Herblock) who drew for the paper for 55 years before passing in 2001.

Donald E. Graham remembers visiting Herblock in the hospital in August 2001. Block was 91 and still drawing five cartoons a week. The publisher gently suggested that the cartoonist, hired by Graham’s grandfather Eugene Meyer in 1946, might want to ease off a little. Block, who had a cartoon in the paper every day when he was in his prime, hated the idea.

“Cutting back on his output just wasn’t in Herb’s nature,” Graham says. “To me, Herblock was the greatest cartoonist who ever lived.”

Michael Cavna reprints several remembrances from other editorial cartoonists regarding Herblock.

Of the 20th century, he was the giant. There were a lot of great cartoonists, but there was not a great cartoonist in the position of being where every cartoon was a local cartoon in Washington. He influenced our government so much, and it’s true what Nixon said: “When you opened the paper … Oh my God.” – Mike Peters

Tom Spurgeon writes his thoughts on Herblock’s legacy:

I’m not exactly certain how Herblock will be remembered by those that remember figures like that beyond a decade or so after they pass. His powerful identification as a force within the Washington Post will likely diminish as the eminence of that institution as a cultural force either fades or shifts emphases. My hunch is that in the long-term when Herblock is remembered at all it will be as an extremely capable cartoonist but also a highly rewarded one, a man emblematic of a time when cartoonists settled in at major papers and became the kind of figures that gave out awards, had their photos taken with colleagues reading their new books, and received accolades from presidents. I’m certain there will continue to be cartoonists with strong careers at solid journalistic enterprises, but I can’t imagine anyone starting out right now having the kind of career Herblock had, or leaving behind the stock-fueled fortune he did upon his passing.

The Post also two slideshows of Herblock’s life and work.