Tom Tomorrow, creator of This Modern World, is this year’s Herblock Prize winner. Established in 2004, and named for famed editorial cartoonist Herblock, the prize is given for distinguished examples of editorial cartooning that exemplify the courageous standard set by Herblock and is judged by a panel of outside experts. The finalist this year was Jack Ohman, who left his post at The Oregonian last year.
Dan Perkins, pen name Tom Tomorrow, was named the winner of the 2013 Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning.
Perkins is the creator of the weekly political cartoon, This Modern World, which appears in approximately 80 papers, mostly altweeklies. He is the editor of the comics section he created in April 2011 on Daily Kos. His cartoons have been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, U.S. News & World Report and The Economist. He lives outside of New Haven, Connecticut with his wife and their son.
The prize is awarded annually by The Herb Block Foundation for “distinguished examples of editorial cartooning that exemplify the courageous independent standard set by Herblock.” The winner receives a $15,000 after-tax cash prize and a sterling silver Tiffany trophy. Perkins will receive the prize April 25th in a ceremony held at the Library of Congress.
Jack Ohman, the editorial cartoonist for The Sacramento Bee, was named this year’s finalist and will receive a $5,000 after-tax cash prize.
Gwen Ifill, moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week” and senior correspondent for “The PBS Newshour,” will deliver the annual Herblock Lecture at the awards ceremony. Previous speakers have included Ben Bradlee, then-Senator Barack Obama, Sandra Day O’Connor, Tom Brokaw, Tim Russert, Ted Koppel, George Stevens Jr., Jim Lehrer and Garry Trudeau.
Judges for this year’s contest were Matt Bors, a nationally syndicated cartoonist in altweeklies and winner of the 2012 Herblock Prize; Jenny Robb, curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State University; and Steve Brodner, satirical illustrator who has covered eight national political conventions for Esquire, The Progressive, and others.
The judges felt there were many strong portfolios in this year’s contest, including several animated-only entries and other alternative multi-panel submissions.
Bors said Tom Tomorrow’s portfolio included “hands down, some of the smartest political cartoons of the year.” Subjects included “consistently hilarious takedowns of women-bashers, gun culture and the president’s abuse of executive power.”
“Tom Tomorrow is both fearless and funny, two qualities that make him a first-rate editorial cartoonist,” Robb said. “He has developed a unique graphic style that perfectly suits his wry and clever assaults on politicians, political parties, and bad policies while also making his work instantly recognizable.”
Brodner said, “Dan Perkins’ output for the year was consistently strong, intelligent and witty. The work discussed the most important issues in a way extremely compelling and illuminating. The sequential political cartoon is a vivid and powerful form in his hands.”
The judges also had strong praise for the work of Jack Ohman, the finalist.
Robb said, “In addition to producing strong traditional editorial cartoons, Jack Ohman has developed a unique and effective multi-panel strip that is part journalism, part memoir and part satire. He courageously used the format and his platform at The Oregonian to effect change in his local community and to focus attention on issues of both local and national importance.” Brodner added that Ohman’s work is “politically brave, formalistically daring and artistically free, while retaining great design and draftsmanship.”
The Herb Block Foundation seeks to further the recognition and support of editorial cartooning.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.