The Simpsons creator Matt Groening was named Cartoonist of the Year, professional cartooning’s highest honor, during The National Cartoonists Society’s 2002 Reuben Awards. The awards were presented at a black tie dinner at The Palace Hotel in San Francisco on Saturday, May 24 during a weekend of festivities. Presenters included Scott Adams (Dilbert), Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury) and Cathy Guisewite (Cathy).
Groening beat out competitors Pat Brady (Rose is Rose), Greg Evans (Luann) and Dan Piraro (Bizarro) to pick up a statuette designed by and named after the NCS’ first president, Rube Goldberg.
Cartoonists in various professional divisions were also honored with special plaques for excellence. These awards are voted on by a combination of the general membership (by secret ballot) and special juries overseen by various NCS Regional Chapters.
The Feature Animation category held the biggest upset as Lilo and & Stitch director Chris Sanders beat out Hayao Miyazaki, director of the Oscar-winning Spirited Away. Also up for the award was Peter De Seve for Ice Age.
On the TV animation side, SpongeBob SquarePants creator Steve Hillenburg bested fellow nominees Butch Hartman (The Fairly OddParents) and Greg Miller (Whatever Happened to Robot Jones?).
The other winners are:
Newspaper Comic Strip: Darby Conley (Get Fuzzy)
Advertising and Illustration: Jim Hummel
Newspaper Panel: Dave Coverly (Speed Bump)
Newspaper Illustration: Steve McGarry
Comic Book: Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo)
Gag Cartoon: Glenn McCoy
Greeting Card: Glenn McCoy
Book Illustration: B.B Sams
Magazine Illustration: C.F. Payne
Editorial Cartoon: Clay Bennett
New Media: Mark Fiore
Founded in 1946, the National Cartoonists Society (www.reuben.org) is the world’s largest and most prestigious organization of professional cartoonists. Members work in many branches of the profession, including comic strips, comic books, editorial cartoons, animation, greeting cards and magazine and book illustration.