Better Luck Next Time!

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Better Luck Next TimeYou’d think after not snagging the Reuben last weekend in DC, I’d feel like a sad sack of potatoes. But you know what? I had a blast. I came away from the weekend energized and inspired. I met a lot of great cartoonists, stuffed my face with great food and  laughed from the moment I got there until the minute I left. Here are some shots from the trip.

Arnold RothWhen legendary cartoonist Arnold Roth wasn’t drawing pictures with a crowd watching, he was telling jokes in the hallway to anyone who’d listen. One of the sweetest and funniest guys I’ve ever met.

Dave Coulson, Vince Dorse, Nick Galifianakis, Eddie PittmanOne of the things I did that weekend was meet a bunch of great cartoonists…then force them to stand next to me in photos so I’d have proof. That’s Dave Coulson and Nick Galifianakis with me on the left. Nick gave an inspiring talk on artistic authenticity that’s will resonate with me for a long time. On the far right, that’s the talented Eddie Pittman (Red’s Planet) who also works on Phineas and Ferb. I’d known him online, but this was the first time I ever met him in person. No, Eddie wouldn’t spill any details from the final episode of Phineas and Ferb, but he did prove to be one of the nicest people out there.

speed holeStrolling around Washington DC on the afternoon of the Reubens we came upon this “Speed Hump” sign with the odd graphic. My friend suggested it actually looked like a hole in the ground, so I fixed it in post. That oughta’ slow down them leadfoot secret service agents!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile Dave Blazek (Loose Parts) and Mark Parisi (Off The Mark) duked it out over the Newspaper Comic Panel Reuben, Hilary Price walked away with the prize. Focus, guys, focus!

Scout and Bigfoot at the ReubensFirst day I arrived I noticed Scout on the official poster/program/t-shirt. So, since Scout was gonna be at the Reubens, I customized my name tag so Bigfoot could join him.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the poster for my category, On-Line Comics/Long Form. This picture was taken just moments before I swiped the thing from its easel. I wasn’t about to go home empty-handed!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYour Reuben Nominees for Outstanding Cartoonist this year were Roz Chast (The New Yorker), Hilary Price (Rhymes With Orange) and Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine). Chast took home the trophy. Our host was, once again, Jason Chatfield — an Australian editorial/comic cartoonist and stand-up comedian.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARunning joke: Tom Gammill (The Doozies) and Jeannie Schulz (wife of the late Charles Schulz) yukking it up as usual. Always a crowd-pleaser. You can see the video that opened this year’s ceremony right here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALegendary Mad Magazine cartoonist/illustrator Mort Drucker receiving his NCS Medal of Honor.

Drucker MeglinMort (shown here with Mad editor, Nick Meglin) also headed up a panel on cartooning earlier in the week. His advice? Love what you do and always strive to get better at what you do. Good. That’s always been my philosophy too. Maybe I’m on the right track.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASeeing your comic page blown up to twenty feet on a giant screen never gets old.

Tom Richmond and Vince DorseI told you I wasn’t going to leave the Reubens empty-handed. NCS President and Mad Magazine Cartoonist Tom Richmond did 44 hand-drawn caricatures of the Presidents to serve as table centerpieces. These were originals, not copies. I grabbed the Warren G. Harding from our table (couldn’t resist after reading that he was known as the President with the biggest feet! Big feet! Bigfoot! And Harding wore size 14, just like me! Maybe one day I’ll be president too.). I wanted to thank Tom for the drawing personally at the closing night Haunted Party, but could only find Freddy from the Scooby Doo gang.

Ed and Heather SteckleyEd & Heather Steckley creeped everybody out dressed as the twin ghost girls from The Shining. Ed made it a point to stop by everyone’s table and just stare silently for a minute.

Reuben Poster SteckleyEd Steckley, by the way, is the talented cartoonist who drew the poster/t-shirt/program illustration for the event. He was nice enough to include our buddy, Scout, in the lower left hand corner of the piece…right there next to Heathcliff!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m still not sure which cartoonist was running around the Haunted Party dressed as the Phantom of the Reubens, but I did actually see him chasing the Scooby Doo gang across the stage while the Scooby Doo theme blared from the speakers. It was one of the highlights of the evening. (Just got word from Wayno that the Phantom was Ray Alma the whole time! And he would’ve gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling kids!)

Jim HorwitzPractically a cartoon character himself, Jim Horwitz (Watson) was someone I’d previously only known from Twitter/Online. As it turns out, that was insufficient preparation for dealing with this lunatic in person. What a nut. Glad to call him my friend.

Dave Coulson, Michael MacParlaneAnother pair of Pittsburgh cartoonists/illustrators, my friends Dave Coulson and Michael MacParlane (Mac). I know it looks like Michael dressed up as Uncle Fester for the Haunted Party, but that’s pretty much how he looks all the time.

Wayno, Vince Dorse, Dave KlugThree Pittsburgh cartoonists, Wayno® (WaynoVision), me and Dave Klug. We look real natural, right? Wrong. It took three separate shots stitched together to recreate this “natural” moment because none of us know how to stand still for a picture. Still, these guys made the Reubens a ton of fun and I can’t wait to hang out with them again. They said I could, but only if I get nominated again.

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