The Reuben Awards were given out over the holiday by the National Cartoonists Society, and Roz Chast won the Reuben Award, a once in a lifetime trophy only bestowed on the finest cartoonists. Chast is only the third woman to win the Reuben—Lynn Johnston won in 1985 and Cathy Guisewaite in 1993—and she beat out Hilary Price and Stephen Pastis for the honor, mostly on the strength of her graphic novel Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant, a book that has racked up a ton of awards and acclaim for Chast, along with a $250,000 prize.
The rest of the divisional winners are as follows:
Magazine Feature / Magazine Illustration
Patrick McHale, Creator (Over The Garden Wall)
Tomm Moore, Director, (Song of the Sea)
Advertising / Product Illustration
Marla Frazee (The Farmer and the Clown)
Magazine Gag Cartoon
Jules Feiffer (Kill My Mother)
Jason Latour (Southern Bastards)
Online Comics – Short Form
Danielle Corsetto (Girls with Slingshots)
Online Comics – Long Form
Minna Sundberg (Stand Still, Stay Silent)
Newspaper Panel Cartoon
Hilary Price (Rhymes with Orange)
Newspaper Comic Strip
Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine)
The Reuben Award
Special honorees this year were Mort Drucker and Jeff Keane. The kudos were handed out at the annual NCS dinner, held this year in Washington DC, and Michael Cavna was there to record the scene, which like just about everything else in comics, was notable for featuring six female winners, a record!
On Saturday night, in a ballroom holding hundreds of top cartoonists, the organizers might as well have piped in Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” because for only the third time in the event’s six-decade-plus history, a woman — the New Yorker’s Roz Chast — received the group’s big honor, the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year. And her trophy capped what may well be the event’s winningest night ever for female writers and artists, as six women won in the 16 competitive categories.
Tom Spurgeon has a little commentary on the winners here, and notes that the NCS has to move forward, just as newspapers make up less and less of the cartooning world, hence the awards for animation and graphic novels and webcomics, while still battling a bit of “old skool” sensibilities as an organization. I would say that Girls with Slingshots is exactly the kind of webcomic that you’d expect the NCS to honor—but it’s also a webcomic deeply deserving of recognition. So despite the changing of the guard nature of the awards they kind of turned out okay.
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.