Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Reuben Awards 2017

About a month ago, I read about how the famous Reuben Awards (sort of like the Oscars for cartoons) were going to be held in my hometown of Portland, Oregon.  Plus, they were going to honor my buddies - Matt Groening, David Silverman and the great Lynda Barry.

Then I thought, "Wow, that's something I would love to be part of."  So I contacted Bill Morrison, the president of the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) and said I would love to be part of the celebration, besides I have a place to stay in Portland.  So I was added to the list of attending cartoonists for their Memorial Day weekend event. 

Portland is already known as a "weird" city, so being invaded by a large group of cartoonists sort of made that title redundant.  The opening party was held at the headquarters of the company that makes the Wacom tablet.  We gathered on the top floor, with a magnificent view of Mt. Hood and the Cascade Mountains with beautiful snow.

Saturday there was a full day of panels, hosted by people like Mike Richardson of Dark Horse Comics, Matt Groening and David Silverman, and to top it off, a talk and song from the hilarious Lynda Barry.  I first met Lynda about 25 years ago when we both attended a big book convention in Washington DC.  We went out on the town to a crabhouse, got drunk on sangria and I discovered that Ms. Barry is the funniest woman in America.

                                                  with Lynda Barry, winner of the Milton
                                                    Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award

Then, at the closing night buffet dinner, I was invited to host a movie night, with popcorn and candy and I showed the Oregon premiere of my new short "Cop Dog", plus a screening of a trailer for my new work-in-progress feature, "Slide".  Both were very well received - in fact, I was shocked by the number of fans I had among these famous cartoonists, because they mostly work in print and I'm a TV and movie guy.

                                              dinner with Lynda Barry and Matt Groening

Since I started my career as a caricature artist and political cartoonist, I was happy to meet some old friends there - like Mike Peters, Bill Schorr, Jack Ohman, Dan Piraro, Mo Willems, Sam Viviano (MAD Magazine), Joe Sacco, Eric Goldberg, Howard Beckerman, Shannon Wheeler, Patrick McDonnell ("Mutts"), Jim Borgman ("Zits") and of course, my good friends Matt, David and Lynda.  I really had a ball.

                                                    with Jack Ohman, editorial cartoonist

                                                           with Dan Piraro ("Bizarro")

                                               with Mo Willems ("Sheep in the Big City")

                                           with Sam Viviano (MAD Magazine art director)

                                                                 with Joe Sacco

In terms of weather, it was a very rare (for Portland) 90-degree, blue sky weekend, but I was so excited to see all my friends and heroes that I hardly went outside at all.  A big thanks to Bill Morrison for including me in this prestigious group.  I hope to be there again next year.

--Bill P.
                                                      with Patrick McDonnell ("Mutts")

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