In my previous post about the 2010 Reuben Awards convention hosted by the National Cartoonists Society in Jersey City, New Jersey, I reported on the seminars that took place on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. After Joe Kubert’s great talk, cartoonist conversations continued in every nook and cranny of the hotel, while others started brushing off their top hat, white ties and tails. Well, maybe it wasn’t THAT fancy, but the cartoonists really cleaned up nicely for the black tie Reuben Awards banquet.
Saturday, May 29
On Reuben night, the evening started with a social hour where all the cartoonists were able to strut around in their tuxedos oohing and aahing over each other while taking lots of pictures. It’s a good thing we had our name badges because some of us cleaned up so well we were unrecognizable. Before long, though, we were called in to the banquet room where we found our assigned tables and the meat eaters among us enjoyed some chicken. There was one vegetarian meal at my table that looked as though it was half capers. Cartoonists love a good caper, but not THAT many of the edible kind.
Throughout the meal, we attempted to converse with our dinner companions while a band played music with the seeming intent on sending us away with hoarse voices at the conclusion of the night. The few cartoonists that enjoy dancing didn’t seem to mind it in between courses. As dinner was wrapping up, the program began with a filmed Godfather spoof starring President Jeff Keane (Family Circus) in the title role, and many other cartoonists doing their best Jersey goomba impersonations in the other parts.
Tom Gammill, writer of The Simpsons and creator of his own comic strip called The Doozies, was Master of Ceremonies. After his own short film intro, he came out on stage with a song and dance number similar to what Billy Crystal used to do on the Oscars. He was amazing! And all from one of our newest members having just joined the NCS last year. (Wait’ll you see what initiation ritual we put new members through NEXT year!)
The awards kicked off with the Gold Key Award (the NCS’ Hall of Fame award) which was bestowed upon Bill Gallo who started his career at the New York Daily News in 1941 and has remained with them ever since. Known for his amazing sports cartoons/illustrations for the paper, Bill well deserves this award considering he holds the record for being a journalist the longest for one newspaper.
Following the Gold Key Award was Arnold Roth who spoke about The New Yorker Magazine’s great George Booth, and the incomparable comic book legend Joe Kubert who both received the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award. While you may see the photo below of George receiving his plaque, I was unable to get a clean shot of Joe due to his brief acceptance speech of “Thanks.”
Following the first few special awards and opening remarks, there was a short break for leg stretching, more band playing, and settling down with some coffee. And then, let the awards begin!!!
After the Division Awards were bestowed upon their worthy recipients (for a complete list of winners, please visit the NCS’ official website), living legend Mort Walker walked to the microphone to award the famed Reuben Award statue originally designed by Rube Goldberg at the inception of the NCS 64 years ago. This award is for Cartoonist of the Year no matter what field of cartooning they are proficient in. It can only be won by an individual once in their lifetime, so to be honored by your peers in this way is quite an honor. Three worthy cartoonists were nominated this year: Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), Dan Piraro (Bizarro) and Richard Thompson (Cul de Sac).
The winner of the 2010 Reuben Award was Dan Piraro who was unable to attend the festivities this year. Accepting on his behalf was King Features’ editor Brendan Burford whose speech was humorously interrupted by Tom Gammill who came out sporting Dan Piraro’s signature hat and stogey while grabbing the trophy and running off the stage. Thus ended another successful awards banquet!
While the awards concluded around midnight, the celebrating continued long into the night in the hotel’s lobby, and in the President’s room. The following are a few lobby parting shots.