Skip to comments.Political cartoonist Michael RamirezWins Reuben Award, "Oscar" of Industry
Posted on 05/31/2016 11:09:19 AM PDT by 6ft2inhighheelshoes
By John Beifuss of The Commercial Appeal
Already a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Michael Ramirez, former editorial cartoonist for The Commercial Appeal, this weekend received the cartoon industry's highest honor.
Ramirez, 55, won the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year during the 70th annual "Oscars of cartooning," the awards ceremony of the National Cartoonists Society, the world's oldest, largest and most prestigious organization for professional cartoonists.
The black-tie event took place Saturday night at The Peabody, marking the first time the cartoonists had met in Memphis.
As the 73rd winner of the Reuben Award (a total that acknowledges some ties), Ramirez joins a legendary roster of comic-strip, comic-book and editorial cartoonists that includes Chic Young ("Blondie"), Walt Kelly ("Pogo"), Charles M. Schulz ("Peanuts"), Bill Waterson ("Calvin and Hobbes"), Matt Groenig ("The Simpsons") and Bill Mauldin (beloved for his cartoons depicting GIs during World War II).
Ramirez's win in his former home base was entirely "serendipitous," said Steve McGarry, 63, an artist on the "Despicable Me" and "Minions" movies who is president of the NCS Foundation, the organization's charitable arm, which recently launched a partnership with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. As with the Oscars, society members vote by secret ballot, and the votes are tabulated by an accounting firm.
Other nominees for this years Reuben Award included Stephan Patsis (Pearls Before Swine, which appears in The Commercial Appeal); Lynda Barry (whose work typically appears in alternative newspapers); Mark Tatulli (whose newspaper strips include Lio and Heart of the City); and Hilary B. Price (creator of the newspaper panel strip Rhymes with Orange). The Reuben is named for NCS founding member Rube Goldberg, who also designed the distinctive trophy, which resembles a human pyramid of bulbous-nosed cartoon acrobats.
In addition to the Reuben, awards were given out during the Saturday ceremony for "Newspaper Comic Strip," "Magazine Gag Cartoon," "TV Animation," and so on.
A syndicated editorial cartoonist with Creators Syndicate, the Tokyo-born Ramirez won his first Pulitzer in 1994, in the midst of his seven-year stint with The Commercial Appeal, and his second in 2008, while at Investor's Business Daily.
Although the artist has described himself as "an equal-opportunity offender," Ramirez's cartoons offer a right-of-center viewpoint that makes him one of the most conservative Reuben winners since Al Capp ("Li'l Abner") and Chester Gould ("Dick Tracy"). "I introduce him as 'My friend, Attila the Hun,'" McGarry joked.
"The fact that they actually gave me the award is a reflection on the wonderful nature of this group, how they can think outside the political box," said Ramirez, who lives in Costa de Caza in Orange County, California. "I would guess 70 to 80 percent of them actually disagree with my politics, but they can still respect what I do."
He said editorial cartoonists dont often win the Reuben, maybe because we have gag writers who do a lot of our work for us. Theyre called politicians, and they make our job easy.
McGarry said about 300 people attended this past weekend's convention. Among those in town were Patsis, Jeff Keane ("The Family Circus"), Patrick McDonnell ("Mutts"), Greg Walker ("Beetle Bailey"), Greg Evans ("Luann"), Sergio Aragones (Mad magazine) and Jean Schulz (widow of Charles Schulz).
For some of the cartoonists, the awards weekend represented a working holiday. Ramirez said he had so many deadlines for cartoons that he kept drawing even when he attended Wednesdays Journey concert at FedExForum. I did three sketches between Dave Mason and the Doobie Brothers, he said.
McGarry said the cartoonists visits to St. Jude during the convention were so rewarding that the society has formed an ongoing national partnership" with the children's hospital. He said the Reuben Awards ceremony may not return to Memphis soon, but some cartoonists probably will return every year, to draw with patients and help raise funds.
For a full list of award winners, visit reuben.org.
Wow, now there's a guy with longevity in the industry! Turned a gig doing border scribbles in Mad Magazine into a 50 year career. Good for him!
Here is Ramirez’s latest cartoon (img src=http://michaelpramirez.com/hillary-trap.html>
Yes, and I bet it was a really fun crowd!
Highly deserved! I never miss his daily offerings. His draftsmanship is unparalleled, to start with the least of his many fine attributes, and his incisive wit cuts sharpest. A giant.
Sergio did a comic book spoofing conan called GROO.
He either used to be on FR, or someone posted his work here back around ‘05..
Congratulations - I know you are out there.
The original cartoonist of “Family Circus” was Bil Keane. I believe Jeff is his son (and the namesake of one of the kids in the cartoon).
"It's not as bad as it looks" reminds me of Mark Twain's alleged comment about Richard Wagner's music: "It's not as bad as it sounds."
Loved Ramirez since the first time I saw him in the LA Times. Congrats.
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