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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 03/17/2009

The Reuben Awards: Congrats to 'Pearls,' 'Lio' & 'Cul de Sac'

By Michael Cavna

A Pig. A guinea pig. And a cephalopod. Now THIS should be interesting.

The National Cartoonists Society has announced its nominees for most of this year's award categories, and I'm particularly struck by the spirited competition in the Comic Strip category. The 2009 finalists are "Pearls Before Swine," "Cul de Sac" and "Lio." In other words: Three strips, all created this decade, that have utterly fresh points of view.


CUL DE SAC Enlarge Comic

Comic Riffs offers a hearty congrats to the three cartoonists -- STEPHAN PASTIS, RICHARD THOMPSON and MARK TATULLI, all of whom have shared insights and comments here as Friends of The Blog. (Thompson, of course, also does "Poor Richard's Almanack" for The Post.)

Tatulli's reaction to the nomination? "I'm surprised, flattered, and honored," he tells Comic Riffs. "But I really, really wish I was up against two other comics that suck."

Thompson, in turn, ups the adjectival ante. "I'm shocked, stunned, bowled over, taken aback, flummoxed, gobsmacked and honored," he tells 'Riffs with liquid prose. "Which is enough for me, I think, because they'll probably cut the award in two and give Mark and
Stephan each a piece. And they can each buy me a beer."

Pastis acknowledges that he's also up for the the NCS's Reuben, the cartoonist-of-the-year award that is the industry's Oscar. Of the double-nomination, Pastis says to 'Riffs: "I'm thrilled to be nominated for both. It's especially meaningful because they're both voted on by your peers."

For the Reuben, Pastis's co-finalists for this big kahuna of NCS awards reportedly are DAVE COVERLY ("Speed Bump," which runs in Post's print and online) and DAN PIRARO ("Bizarro," which runs on

Coverly (also a FOTB) tells 'Riffs of the Reuben nomination: "It's an amazing, flattering honor to be mentioned with Dan and Stephan, and further proof that my colleagues don't actually read 'Speed Bump.' "

Also nominated -- in the Magazine Feature/Magazine Illustration category -- is BOB STAAKE, who provides the witty and whimsical illustrations for The Post's Style Invitational. (And LARS LEETARU, who's freelanced for The Post, is nom'd for Newspaper Illustration.) The winners will be announced May 23 in Los Angeles.

Congratulations to the above artists, and to all the nominees. You can find the full list at the NCS WEB SITE.

PLUS: If you've got a reaction you'd like to share with any of the nominees, feel free to post in the Comments field below.

By Michael Cavna  | March 17, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Pearls Before Meta-Swine: Oh, We Relish This 'Reality'
Next: The Winners -- and E-Mails -- Keep Rolling In...


So I guess now is the time to get this off my chest. I don't like 'Lio'. I think the whole 'ooooh, I don't use dialogue' shtick too often leads to stilted setups that involve signs, books, menus, or other ways to get verbiage in.

Posted by: catymac | March 17, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Cul de Sac is delightfully off-kilter. Truly a great strip.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 17, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

It's all shtick, cookie, it's all shtick.


Posted by: heartofthecity | March 17, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations to all three cartoonists who were nominated by the National Cartoonists Society. I love all three strips and I have to agree with Mark Tatulli's reaction to the nomination - "I really, really wish I was up against two other comics that suck". I love Lio and Cul de Sac (which keeps just getting better and better), but I laugh out loud at Pearls Before Swine on a regular basis. (Just looking at Pig today made me howl.)

I'm sure no matter who is honored this year the other two will surely be so honored in the future.

Posted by: elyrest | March 17, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

After seeing today's "Pearls", it would be hard to vote for any other strip in the funnies as being more deserving of the top award. The "Pearls without Pig" mini-strip, Pastis's arm extending beyond the panel, Pig's bulging eyes and gaping mouth, and Pig's dialog of panic running outside of his word balloon - everything is perfect. Bravo, sir!

Posted by: seismic-2 | March 17, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, the two comics I truly NEVER read are Lio and Pearls. Can't stand them. Cul de Sac is not drawn well, per me. Love Prickley City, so it is not just slick drawing that I like... the kid-like drawing of Cul de Sac just gets in the way of the good dialogue.

Contgrats on the awards, applause.

Posted by: ZeldaJane | March 17, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations, sincerely, to the nominees.


However, my understanding is that Eduardo Barreto who draws Judge Parker, was never given consideration. Why?

He is NOT a member of the "National Cartoonist Society." Why? I don't know.

But, to never nominate anyone other than one of your "members", seems kind of skewed.

So, you have to be a "dues paying" member of NCS to even get nominated, seems wrong.

That said, the ones who were nominated, deservedly so, CONGRATULATIONS.

Posted by: RobM1013 | March 18, 2009 1:13 AM | Report abuse

You don't have to be a member of the NCS to get nominated.

Posted by: rhompson | March 18, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I'm a big fan of Lio and Cul-de-sa and Pearls is a decent strip. I remember the first time I was read Lio. He was writing dialogue for the For Better Or For Worse crew--very funny (and technically violates the no dialogue rule). As a father of two young (somewhat less twisted) kids, a look can speak volumes.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 18, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Typo MC, its called Richard's Poor Almanac.

I hope Cul de Sac wins!!! its my favorite.

Posted by: jessecline | March 24, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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