Ann Telnaes wins the Reuben. She is the 4th woman to do so, and the 2nd woman in the last 3 years to do so. The other finalists for the Reuben Award were Mark Tatulli, Hilary Price, Stephan Pastis, and Lynda Barry. Lynda Barry took the Milton Caniff award. Stephan Pastis, once again, did not get a Reuben.
Will discuss after the cut
The evening’s other big honor, the Reuben Award for outstanding cartoonist of the year, went to The Washington Post’s Telnaes, who closely satirized the 2016 election with her animations and live sketches.
Telnaes, who is president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 and had also been recognized by the National Headliner Awards and the National Press Foundation.
A former animator, Telnaes’ cartoons are easily recognizable for their fluid lines and bright colors. Her cartoons tend to be quite liberal in tone and have a special focus on women’s issues, such as third world pregnancy and abortion rights. In 2001, she became the second female cartoonist to win the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning, the first being Signe Wilkinson in 1992.
I am not that familiar with Tenaes' work as I do not subscribe to the Washington Post, but her resume seems substantial, so this is not a token win as it was for Lynn Johnston back in 1985, when she was just getting started and had never won or been nominated for a major NCS award before. It seems clear now that the NCS has finally gotten away from nominating women for the major awards, just so they can say they did.
This is the 2nd year in a row the Reuben has gone to a political cartoonist. In 2016, it was Michael Ramirez and 2015 went to Roz Chast, a cartoonist for The New Yorker. Traditionally the Reuben has rarely gone to political cartoonists and most often they go to a big, multi-newspaper syndicated cartoonist like Lynn Johnston. However, this is the 3rd in year in a row that this has not been the case. You can see the power of the syndicated cartoonists in the National Cartoonist Society is diminishing. They have opened themselves up to giving awards for animation and graphic novels, so the field of the awards is expanding to include artists in the art fields that are actually growing.