71st Annual Reuben Award Winners Announced!

May 27, 2017

Artwork by Tom Richmond

28th May 2017


These days it seems every movie or tv-show is based on comics and cartoons of some kind, and the incredible imaginations behind them all gathered in Portland last night to honor the year’s outstanding achievements in all walks of the profession at the 71st Annual National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards presented by GoComics.

The cartooning industry’s night of nights was hosted by multi-award-winning cartoonist, writer, and humorist Nick Galifianakis at the Hilton Grand Ballroom on Saturday evening.
In a marvelous twist, Galifianakis actually won his category, for Best Newspaper Panel Cartoon for his work on Nick & Zuzu.

The recipient of the profession’s highest honor, the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year is chosen by a secret ballot of the members. This year’s winner was political cartoonist Ann Telnaes for her unmatched cartoon coverage of the 2016 election and ensuing Trump Administration. 

by Ann Telnaes

Ann Telnaes creates editorial cartoons in various mediums- animation, visual essays, live sketches, and traditional print- for the Washington Post. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for her print cartoons.

Telnaes’ print work was shown in a solo exhibition at the Great Hall in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in 2004. Her first book, “Humor’s Edge”, was published by Pomegranate Press and the Library of Congress in 2004. A collection of Vice President Cheney cartoons, “Dick”, was self-published by Telnaes and Sara Thaves in 2006. Her work has also been exhibited in Paris, Jerusalem, and Lisbon.

Telnaes attended California Institute of the Arts and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, specializing in character animation. Before beginning her career as an editorial cartoonist, Telnaes worked for several years as a designer for Walt Disney Imagineering. She has also animated and designed for various studios in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Taiwan.

Other awards include: The National Cartoonists Society Reuben division award for Editorial Cartoons (2016),  The National Press Foundation’s Berryman Award (2006) – The Maggie Award, Planned Parenthood (2002) – 15th Annual International Dutch Cartoon Festival (2007) – The National Headliner Award (1997) – The Population Institute XVII Global Media Awards (1996) – Sixth Annual Environmental Media Awards (1996)

Her television and radio appearances include: – The Newshour with Jim Lehrer – C-Span – NPR – BBC radio -Sirius XM Radio- The Editors, World Affairs Television, Canada.

Telnaes is the current president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC) and is a member of the National Cartoonists Society (NCS).

The other finalists for the Reuben Award were:

Mark Tatulli, Hilary Price, Stephan Pastis, and Lynda Barry.

Recipient: Lynda Barry

The Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded by unanimous vote of the NCS Board of Directors.  It is given for a lifetime of outstanding and accomplished work to a cartoonist who has not previously won a Reuben (The one exception was the posthumous award to Charles M. Schulz, who was awarded a unique Golden Caniff for his outstanding contribution to the artform).

This year’s ‘Caniff’ was Awarded to Lynda Barry, who has worked as a painter, writer, illustrator, playwright, editor, commentator, teacher, and most often, a cartoonist.

She is the inimitable creator of Ernie Pook’s Comeek, the seminal comic strip that was syndicated across North America in alternative weeklies for two decades, and is the author of highly entertaining and influential books such as One! Hundred! Demons!, Cruddy: An Illustrated Novel, Naked Ladies! Naked Ladies! Naked Ladies!, and The Good Times are Killing Me, which was adapted as an off-Broadway play and won the Washington State Governor’s Award.

The award was presented to Barry by her long-time pal and famed Simpsons creator, Matt Groening.


Excellence in the fields of newspaper strips, online comics, newspaper panels, TV animation, feature animation, newspaper illustration, gag cartoons, book illustration, greeting cards, comic books, magazine feature/magazine illustration, and editorial cartoons, is honored in the NCS Division Awards, which are chosen by specially-convened juries at the chapter level.


Recipient: Cory Loftis

Best Feature Animation went to Cory Loftis for his character design work in Zootopia.

Recipient: Chris Savino

Best TV Animation went to Chris Savino for his work on The Loud House on Nickelodeon.

Recipient: Mick Luckovich

Best Editorial Cartoonist went to last year’s Reuben Award-winner, Mike Luckovich.

Recipient: Steve Kelley and Jeff Parker

Best Newspaper Comic Strip went to Steve Kelley and Jeff Parker for their work in Dustin.

Recipient: David Rowe (Australia)

Best Newspaper Illustrator went to David Rowe for his work in the Australian Financial Review.

Recipient: Jon Adams

Best Magazine Illustration went to Jon Adams.

Recipient: Will McPhail

Best Gag Cartoonist went to Will McPhail for his work in The New Yorker.

Recipient: Max Sarin & Liz Fleming

Best Graphic Novel went to Max Sarin & Liz Fleming for their work on Giant Days.

Recipient: Rick Geary

Best Graphic Novel went to Rick Geary for his work on Black Dahlia.

Recipient: Ruben Bolling

Best Online Comic Artist: Short Form went to Ruben Bolling for his work on Donald & John.

Recipient: Ngozi Ukazu

Best Online Comic: Long Form went to Ngozi Ukasu for her work on OMG Check Please.

Recipient: Debbie Tomasi

Best Greeting Card Cartoonist went to Debbie Tomasi.

Recipient: Luke McGarry

Best Advertising Illustration went to Luke McGarry

Recipient: Dave Whamond

Best Book Illustration went to Dave Whamond

Recipient: Nick Galifianakis (the host!)

Best Newspaper Comic Strip went to Nick Galifianakis for his work on Nick & Zuzu

Recipient: Ruby Xia

Each year, the NCS Foundation awards the Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship scholarship to a college student in the United States, Canada or Mexico who will be in their Junior or Senior year of college during the following academic year.

This annual award was established in memory of a great friend to the NCS, Jay Kennedy, the late King Features comics editor, from an initial grant from the Hearst Foundation/King Features Syndicate and additional generous donations from other prominent cartoonists. This year marks the tenth anniversary of Jay’s passing.

The winner receives a $5,000 scholarship and is invited to the Reubens to receive the award and meet the world’s top professional cartoonists and most gifted creators.

Entries are judged by the board of directors of the National Cartoonists Society Foundation. They look not only for outstanding talent and ability, but drive, application, and ambition. All the qualities that a cartoonist needs to succeed in the profession.

This year’s extremely talented recipient, Ruby Xia, fits the bill perfectly. An Animation major at the Sheridan College in Ontario, Canada, she has worked on six animated short films in the last three years with her first-year film, “Fridge Princess” being accepted in a half dozen film festivals, including the Giffoni International Children’s Festival.

She is also a caricature artist and was featured in the book, Sketching from the Imagination: Characters. She loves collaborating with fellow artists and plans on pursuing a career in concept art in the animation and gaming industries.

The award was presented to ex-NSC President, and current NCS Foundation President, Steve McGarry.

Despite its name, the National Cartoonists Society boasts a membership far beyond the borders of the United States, including Europe, Asia, and South America. It could well be renamed the International Cartoonists Society. NCS President, Bill Morrison, cited ‘letterhead printing costs’ as the reason for keeping the name.

This year’s Best Newspaper Illustration category was remarkable, in that not only was none of the nominees not from the US, but they were all from the same country; Australia! All three nominees, Anton Emdin, Glen LeLievre and David Rowe work across various media online and in print, and all hail from Sydney. In his acceptance speech, winner David Rowe cited his absence is due to the uncertainty of the ailing newspaper industry Down Under. His employer, Fairfax Newspapers has recently undergone a dramatic round of job cuts across its entire slate of newspapers and online publications, leading to union protests across the country.

In December 2015, 2016 Reuben Award-Winner Ann Telnaes created an animated political cartoon that responded to an ad for the presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, in which his 5- and 7-year old daughters appeared. The older daughter spoke in the ad, reading a line from a book called “The Grinch Who Lost Her Emails” in which she referenced the Grinch’s use of a private email server — an obvious reference to the Hillary Clinton email controversy. In her cartoon, Telnaes portrayed the daughters of the senator as monkeys on leashes, with Cruz holding the leashes and grinding an organ.

In response to complaints, Telnaes then posted a comment that the Cruz children were “fair game” for her cartoon because “Ted Cruz uses his children as political props.” Washington Post editor Fred Hiatt eventually retracted and deleted the cartoon and replaced it with the statement that “It’s generally been the policy of our editorial section to leave children out of it. I failed to look at this cartoon before it was published. I understand why Ann thought an exception to the policy was warranted in this case, but I do not agree.” Telnaes’ “fair game” comment was also deleted.

In response to Hiatt, Telnaes tweeted “Ted Cruz has put his children in a political ad — don’t start screaming when editorial cartoonists draw them as well,” and retweeted a link to an article titled, “Organ Grinders and Their Monkeys Once Entertained on DC Sidewalks.”

The National Cartoonists Society is the world’s largest and most prestigious organization of professional cartoonists. It was born in 1946 when groups of cartoonists got together to entertain the troops. They found that they enjoyed each other’s company and decided to get together on a regular basis.

Today, the NCS membership roster includes over 500 of the world’s major cartoonists, working in many branches of the profession, including newspaper comic strips and panels, comic books, editorial cartoons, animation, gag cartoons, greeting cards, advertising, magazine and book illustration and more.


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