Reubens – Days Two/Three

12:15 – After an hour on the train, and a half hour hiking to the hotel, I’ve met Mikey and dropped off my tux in his room and circulation has returned to my hanger-hampered fingers again. I’ve met editorial cartoonist Bob Rich, chatted for a second about the serpentine maze from the water cooler to the bathroom, and found a place in the Locher thing to plug in my laptop.

12:20 – I have to admit, I’m not one of these cartoonists who knows the whole history of the art. Heck, I probably couldn’t even tell you who does many of the current strips, much less any older ones. I don’t know anything about Locher, and precious little about Dick Tracy, but I’m just happy to surrounded by this great cartoon energy.

12:32 – Some of Chester Gould’s family are speaking. His daughter thanked Locher for his work on the strip.

12:35 – It took 1921-1931 and 60 different strip ideas for Gould before his 61st effory, “Plainclothes Tracy” has its name shortened.

12:40 – His grandson, Tracy, (no kidding!) is speaking now about Gould’s energy and charisma.

12:42 – His granddaughter is speaking now about how proud she is that Dick Tracy goes on.

12:45 – Introducing Locher. Apparently 1983 was a good year for Locher – a Pulitzer, and taking over Tracy.

12:50 – Locher has a great overhead presentation.

Great story about Kissinger coming to see him and asking for a caricature Locher was trying to hide.

(I gotta go see the Tracy museum in Woodstock now.)

Locher refers to editorial cartoonists as the “towel snappers of journalism.” I gotta think of something similar for gag cartoons.

Shows a great cartoon about the social security crisis as the bat signal, and a child dressed as Batman for Halloween. Nearby parents say to the boy “You’re needed, son.”

Another great cartoon with Clinton behind his desk. On it is a plaque reading “Slick Happens.”

Says his editor told him to “be controversial, but don’t make my phone ring” and talks about a cartoon shutting down the Trib and prompting death threats. Wow.

Speaking about working as Gould’s assistant. Says Gould wanted him to draw a realistic machine gun for the last panel and gave him an old German machine to take with him. Locher was stopped by a policeman who wanted to see what was in the brown paper package as he crossed the loop. After putting Locher in the back of the squad car, the officer told him Gould had called and told them to give him a ride to the station.

Shows some paintings and a bronze sculpture. Wow!

Locher ends by saying editorial cartoonists are like blind javelin throwers. “We don’t win many awards but we keep the crowd alert.” What a great speech!

1:15 – That was a lot of fun, and I learned a ton about a local cartoonist I had no clue about. I still have SO much to learn.

1:20 – I think I hear Lynch behind me… I have a half hour until the next seminar. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

1:25 – Got up and got some water. Came back and rifled through my briefcase for about two minutes before I realized it wasn’t mine and found the correct one a few rows back. Yeesh!

1:40 – I talk with Lynch and another cartoonist about how filthy my glasses are. It’s true, my specs are really nasty.

1:45 – Everett Peck is introduced. “He’s been up, he’s been down, he’s fallen asleep with the TV on.”

1:50 – Talking about early influences in animation, “Big Daddy” Roth and “crummy war comics.” They just got his mic to work – thank God!

Showing some of his sketchbook stuff.

Now we’re into illustrations.

Shows Duckman’s first appearance as a magazine cover for the LA Times.

This is some pretty neat stuff, although, honestly, it’s a little above me. I don’t think I’ll ever be a true illustrator, at least not like this.

There’s not a lot of explanation in this presentation. A lot of slides, but not a lot to go with them.

Now he’s showing some art he does just for himself. Neat stuff, and it makes me think; I never do art just for my own satisfaction. Well, that’s not true since I work mostly on spec, I guess. Does all that stuff I hoped to sell, that never did, count as “just for me?”

Showing some paintings his wife buys as thrift shops that he adds his own art on top of. What a great idea!

Tries to do one painting a day just for fun. Good God, I wish I had that kind of time!

Now showing a lot of stuff in which he uses classic animation characters. Kind of a mash-up idea.

Now he’s showing chairs he paints. I wonder if I’ll ever be this creative.

Now some Duckman stuff. The clips are obscenely loud!

Thanks God someone finally turned a knob, now I can listen without grimacing.

How did I miss this show? Maybe I’ll have to check it out sometime. Who’s the voice? I know I know it!

A short animation entitled “Idiot Box.” So another animator is getting into this kind of stuff. (Note to self – get cracking on Flash more often.)

Another short animation with a handyman cutting off his fingers on a table saw. Really funny!

Another show called “Stinky Pierre.”

Now a show that’s premiering on Cartoon Network this weekend entitled “Squirrel Boy.” It’s kind of a long clip and not as funny or interesting as Duckman.

3:00-ish (?) – It’s at this point that I pretty much stopped blogging for the day.

Mikey and I went across the street, got some sandwiches at PotBelly’s and chat for a good while. Then some more chatting in the hotel lobby.

Some guys in spiky leather walk by occasionally, and it’s not the McCoy brothers.

Tom Stiglich passes by with a different local paper every half hour or so. He tells us of his $99 tux that he’s wearing tonight. I can’t wait to see it.

5:30-ish to 6:15-ish – Mike and I get our tuxes on and head down to the pre-award cocktail party thingy. My orange vest looks great!

6:20 – I roam around the room and talk to a few people, but mostly I roam. Adrian Sinnott and I chat for a good while and he seems interested in my stuff.

8:00-ish – We head in and sit down at our table. I’m sitting with Mike, Tony Murphy, Roy Schneider, Don Orehek, a guy who’s an assistant to Jim Davis, and assorted spouses.

The salad and dinner was good, and the dessert had a little piece of white chocolate with the NCS logo on it. Mmm… NCS…

The awards started really late. 9:00 or so? Maybe later? Stromoski’s speech is OK, and Piraro starts things off with “another damn song” that’s still rattling around in my head. Damn you Piraro!

Locher gets his award and says a few words. Then Ralph Steadman is introduced and there’s a really really long video clip before he speaks.

And speak he does! 15-20 minutes of socio-political ramblings that prompt more than a few people to get up and leave. Apparently some were offended, I was just kind of bored.

The awards are (in addition to being cut and pasted from The Daily Cartoonist) in no particular order, as follows:

Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year: Mike Luckovich

Milton Caniff Award for Lifetime Achievement: British illustrator Ralph Steadman

Silver T-Square award: Dick Locher

Advertising Illustration: Roy Doty

Animation Feature: Nick Park, Director “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit”

Animation Television : Davis Silverman, “The Simpsons”

Book Illustration: Ralph Steadman

Comic Books: Paul Chadwick, “Concrete, The Human Dilemma”

Editorial Cartoons: Jim Borgman, Cincinnati Enquirer

Gag Cartoons: Glen McCoy

Greeting Cards: Gary McCoy

Magazine Feature, Magazine Illustration: C.F. Payne

Newspaper Illustration: Bob Rich

Newspaper Panels: Jerry Van Amerongen “Ballard Street”

Newspaper Strips: Brook McEldowney, “9 Chickweed Lane”

Let’s see… I was really glad to see Jim Borgman win, not only because I love his art, but because he was really nice to me the other night.

The McCoy brothers made a spectacle of Glen’s win (or was it Gary’s) that I’ll post pics of in a day or so.

Also notable was Lynn Johnston making out with Dan Piraro, Steadman’s humorously expletive-laden but mercifully short second acceptance speech, and Mike Luckovich reminding us all how much Mort Drucker influenced us all.

12:00 – The night is over and I catch a cab back to Union Station to make sure I can catch my train.

On the ride, a number of people ask why I’m so dressed up and I explain my career and the Reubens in 25 words or less. You know what was neat? Everyone, and I mean everyone I talked to thought being a cartoonist is a really cool job. And you know what? It is.

There’s nothing I’d rather do.

OK, so this post is a few days late, but for a guy with a potty-training two-year-old and a newborn, you gotta admit this is fairly timely.

I didn’t end up going back for the Guisewite roast and had Mikey over to the Anderson compound for X3, BBQ’d sausage burgers and beer the next day. It was great to finally have him meet the family unit.

All in all it was a really great weekend. I’m tired, but invigorated and I’m looking forward to slinging some ink this week.

Rumors are circulating about the location for next year’s Reubens, and it sounds like a great idea. See you all next time!

Technorati Tags: , , ,