The 69th cartooning arts top awards was named for NCS co-founder Reuben (Rube) Goldberg. It’s an annual celebration… 3+ days of laughter, parties, singing, and an elegant formal dinner with entertainment and presentation of the awards.
This year at the historic Omni Shoreham hotel in Washington, DC the hallways, elevators, lobby bars and meeting rooms were full of acting up and one-liners. Since being admitted 16 years ago I’ve met and come to know many of my heroes of the art form. Before that I was just a cartoon artist and smart-ass with an eyeball in a knothole in the wall beyond center field. With help from Washington Post Editor Sara Fitzgerald and cartoonists Art Wood, Bud Grace and Mike Mikula, I was finally able to gain admittance to this wonderful organization.
Each year we also mark the passing of our brother and sister cartoonists. This year among those was pal Roy Dody (92) who was successfully self-employed for 73 busy years. At past Reuben weekends I had many opportunities to enjoy his grouchy wit over a few drinks. His annual complaints at our business meetings became a legend. This year Mike Peters rose to make a motion – not for a moment of silence, but a moment of complaining in his memory. Tears of joy came to my eyes as 20 or so of our colleagues rose in unison, “It’s too cold in here!” ”The food stinks!” ”I’m losing my hair!” ”Digital cartooning is all wrong!” etc. It was the best moment of the weekend.
Tom Richmond (Mad Magazine and NCS President) and the lovely Anna, his wife, have transformed our organization. His positive attitude and hard work have paid off – tackling tough issues like the nominating process, the duration of the dinner award ceremonies, and finding room for the Internet market and artists. He even has dealt with my personal disappointment – the no-shows by winners – by recording videos to show at the ceremony. Using the talented Tom Gammill and now Jason Chatfield as emcees has worked so well. Finally, the seminars provided some serious and happy mind-stretching for many of us. Terrific speakers all.
SAM was beautiful and vivacious in her special gown and best this year, my son Will was able to join us for the awards dinner. So proud and happy he could appreciate this wonderful part of my life.