This year was the 67th Annual Reuben Awards dinner. In February, Tom Richmond, the president of the National Cartoonists Society informed me that I was nominated for the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year.
From most people that garners a shrug.
To cartoonists, it ranks right up there with an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy or Tony. But in our case it’s even more special because, at some point in the 1990s, the award was made a once-in-a-lifetime award—no repeats.
This was my first nomination. My fellow nominees, all nominated by the membership of the National Cartoonists Society, were: Brian Crane (creator of Pickles) and Stephan Pastis (creator of Pearls Before Swine). The announcement of the winner would be made at the awards dinner during the Memorial Day weekend convention of the NCS in Pittsburgh, three and a half months from then.
I have to admit, for the first few weeks, it messed with my head. Every drawing raised the question, Was it good enough? After a while, that gets pretty exhausting, mentally. I was finally able to get to a point where the nomination stopped sneaking into my head. Continue reading →
Baby Blues is included, along with twenty-two other cartoonists, in the latest “Demand A Plan/Demand Action” video. It’s a call to action for people and our leaders and representatives to take steps to end gun violence. There is no one particular solution proposed because it is a very complex problem that requires many approaches in many areas. It’s up to us as citizens to demand that we start addressing the issue in all the areas it involves. Inaction is not a solution.
Since we are not getting into any specifics here, we aren’t asking for a debate on this page—there are plenty other places on the Internet for that. You can watch it or not, take it to heart or not. Above all, please keep the comments civil.
I recently read an account of an amazingly talented artist, Victor Juhasz, about his trip to Afghanistan, where he was embedded with a medevac unit for two weeks. The stories are sometimes harrowing, the drawings raw and intimate. You should see them. They’re incredible.
It started me thinking about my own experiences on trips visiting wounded troops in hospitals and drawing for deployed troops in Iraq and Afghanistan on USO tours.
Our cartoonists’ experience was much different from Mr. Juhasz’s. Where he returned with dozens of drawings he could display in galleries or in magazines and online, we came back with very little artistic evidence of our trips. Mostly our evidence was in the form of “challenge” coins we were given by officers and commanders for doing what we did. We have some photos, many of which are touristy shots of us in not-your-typical tourist locations.
With Thanksgiving approaching, I thought I’d find a Baby Blues strip with a Thanksgiving theme and write about how it all came about and the meaning of it to our family. Something poignant and funny.
I started by searching through my emails for “thanksgiving”—that’s an easy way for me to find something like this quickly. If that doesn’t work, I’ll head over to the BabyBlues.com archives and search.
While I was going through the emails, I ran across one that seemed odd to come up in a “thanksgiving” search. It was an email from Stephan Pastis, creator of the comic strip Pearls Before Swine. The email was shortly after Thanksgiving of 2005. He had sent me the fourth in a series of gags he was working on. The email contained this strip, the peak of the action in the series where Zoe and Hammie, out on a beer run, ran over Jeremy from Zits and blew up a gas station:
Pearls Before Swine/Baby Blues crossover (Click to biggify)