Newsday’s Matt Davies is the 2021 recipient of the “Rex Babin Memorial Award for Excellence in Local Cartooning.” The panel of judges also named Robert Ariail, David Horsey, and Marc Murphy as finalists. The award was announced online on Friday, Oct. 8, during Zoomfest ‘21, the virtual convention of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC).
Pulitzer Prize-winning, Herblock Prize-winning, Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award-winning, Headliners Award-winning editorial cartoonist Matt Davies adds another trophy to his shelf.
Davies has been the staff cartoonist for Newsday on Long Island since 2014, and has drawn on New York politics for newspapers such as The Journal News and The Village Voice since the early 1990s. Davies’ cartoons are syndicated through Andrews McMeel and appear in media outlets nationwide.
“Devastating whimsy,” writes Rob Rogers, one of the three judges for the Babin Award. “That is the best way to describe Matt Davies’ impactful political cartoons, populated by funny-looking, rubbery, boneless characters.
“It’s hard to beat Matt Davies,” added judge JD Crowe. “His funky, crosshatched characters are too much fun to watch, their messages too powerful to ignore. Davies doesn’t let up when he’s drawing about local issues. Corruption and nepotism in local police departments, the Long Island Railroad, power companies and school districts—they all get the full-fledged Matt Davies cartoonery Pulitzer power treatment.”
Also noted are the three finalists:
“Robert Ariail tackles his Charleston, South Carolina territory with a new comic strip titled ‘Low Country,’ the judges commented. “The narrative is driven by local critters—raccoons, turtles and seagulls—who address political, social and environmental issues that affect the whole state. It’s important work staged in a local, charming style.”
“David Horsey is a top shelf cartoonist who treats local issues in The Seattle Times with the same attention to detail as his Pulitzer-winning national work. His vivid imagery and text leave nothing to the imagination as he addresses faulty Boeing airplane designs, the awakening of hibernating neo-fascists in the Northwest or a pandemic-style winter dining scene in Seattle.”
“Marc Murphy’s drawings are simple, his messages powerful. The impact of his art is undeniable. His activist-driven work on the homeless and the Louisville Police Department’s handling of the Breonna Taylor case is devastating, and it has led the way to efforts of police and legislative reform.”