The Pummeling of The Pulitzers Proceeds Apace

All three 2021 Pulitzer Prize finalists in the Editorial Cartooning category were in the news recently which means the Pulitzer No-Prize was a topic.

Boing Boing takes the Pulitzer Board to task in a short item castigating them for not picking a winner, especially Ruben Bolling whose Tom the Dancing Bug they publish weekly.

© Ruben Bolling

“I think that if I could ever get a statement that the Pulitzer Board will never give me the prize, I think that was made clear this year,” said Bolling, who was also a finalist in 2019. “They would rather throw it in the garbage … than give me the award or any of my colleagues.”


NBCU Academy, a “multiplatform journalism training and development program,” interviewed
Marty Two Bulls and Lalo Alcaraz about The Pulitzer and the career path they have chosen.

In the wake of their Pulitzer snub, Marty Two Bulls and Lalo Alcaraz paused their breakneck work schedules to talk to NBCU Academy about the Pulitzer Prize Board’s controversial decision, their careers as editorial cartoonists of color and their advice for young artists.

this and top art © Marty Two Bulls

NBCU ACADEMY: What was your reaction to being nominated for a Pulitzer, but to not get the prize? 

Marty Two Bulls, Sr.: It’s a great honor. I really have no control of the award of the prize. Basically, it’s their contest; they could do whatever they want. You need these awards because it draws attention. Whether I win or not, my name is still out there. My work is exposed to a larger audience, and I’m really grateful. 

Lalo Alcaraz: It gives me a little bit of self-doubt. Like, what happened? What did I do wrong? And all the guys that weren’t finalists this year, they’re wondering also: Should I apply to this? Is it a lottery or is it a legit thing? We’re all second-guessing ourselves. It’s a little strange. 

© Lalo Alcaraz

Would you recommend to college students that they become editorial cartoonists? 

Two Bulls: It’s a narrow field. I had seven [Native American newspapers that publish my work] and now I’m down to two. I don’t think there’s too many people that can do it, because it requires a lot of reading and a lot of interest in the news. I prefer to work with students that are really committed to this, because you’re not going to get rich; this is a lifelong commitment. It takes work to get good. And if you work and work and work, you’ll look up some day and will say, “Hey, I’m doing okay.”  

Alcaraz: Now that we have so many screens and things to look at, there’s tons of opportunities for that. If it’s in your blood to be a political cartoonist, you’re condemned to do a daily comic strip, every day, forever. We’re gluttons for punishment. If people are like that, they’re going to figure out a way to do our “negative art,” as a cartoonist friend of mine calls what we do. I told my son about how I was a broke ass cartoonist for the longest time, but now I’m not. It can happen to you! 

Above are the first and last of the interview, read everything in between here.