Joel Pett is the 2023 recipient of the “Rex Babin Memorial Award for Excellence in Local Cartooning.”
“Famous for his acid wit, Joel Pett treats local political fodder with the same unflinching critical eye he wields in his national cartoons,” stated the three-judge panel of cartoonists. “His work relentlessly picks apart the cruelty and hypocrisy of his state’s power brokers. Long an ambassador for the importance of local political cartooning, Joel Pett is the embodiment of the ethos the Rex Babin Award was created to celebrate.”
“Tip O’Neill used to say that ‘all politics is local,'” noted judge Rob Rogers, “and no one understands that better than Joel Pett. When Pett won the Pulitzer in 2000, his portfolio included several cartoons about Kentucky politics. To most of us in the industry, it was unheard of that a portfolio heavy on local cartoons would win a prize that usually recognizes more national topics, but Pett’s work transcends the divisions between local and national. He has been dedicated to local cartoons for his entire career, savagely attacking those in power and championing the powerless. The cartoons in his current entry are no exception.”
Sage Stossel also won over the judges and was named a finalist.
The judges were also enthusiastic about Finalist Sage Stossel and her work for The Boston Globe: “Stossel’s submission for the 2023 Babin Award was a clear standout, embracing the power of sequential art to craft a true conversation with readers rather than just a quick-hit punchline. Journalistic and hyper-local, Stossel’s sublimely illustrated strips are personal, informative, and wryly humorous … it’s little wonder why these neighborly yet powerful strips resonate with the readers of the Boston Globe.”