The National Cartoonists Society has awarded Zippy the Pinhead creator Bill Griffith with its prestigious Reuben Award. The award was presented last night at a ceremony and awards dinner in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Griffith was one of five cartoonists nominated for the award, chosen from a field that included Jeff Smith, Hilary B. Price, Will Henry and Mark Tatulli.
Griffith began his career in 1969, with his strips appearing in publications like East Village Other and Screw Magazine. He moved to San Francisco in the early 1970s to become part of the underground comix movement, which is where Zippy was born. The strip first appeared in Real Pulp #1, then became a weekly in 1976.
Zippy the Pinhead proved to be popular, gaining national syndication in 1976 via Rip Off Press, and expanding from five to six to eventually seven days a week. It was published in magazines like National Lampoon and High Times, and today is syndicated in about 100 newspapers.
Since 2015, Griffith has also worked on autobiographical graphic novels, including this year’s Three Rocks, a graphic biography of Nancy cartoonist Ernie Bushmiller. You can find out more about Griffith’s career in this video produced by the NCS:
In addition to the Reuben, the NCS also gave out several divisional awards, including some comics categories. The awards recognize the artist or cartoonist, so you won’t typically see the work, the writer or the publisher called out in the nominations.
The graphic novel category nominees for this year included Colleen Doran, artist of Chivalry; Alex Ross, creator of Fantastic Four: Full Circle; and Christian Meesey, artist of Time Shopper. For comic books, the nominees included Brett Bean, artist of I Hate Fairyland; Ben Bender, creator of The Littlest Viking; and Robert Goodin, creator of The Kurdles. Webcomics creators are recognized in two categories — long form and short form. In the long-form category, the nominees included Phil Foglio, Brad Guigar and Sheldon creator Dave Kellett. In the short-form category, Sarah Andersen, Tex creator Jesse Atwell and Rich Powell were nominated.
This year’s winners
Online Comics – Long Form: Phil Foglio
Online Comics – Short Form: Rich Powell
Newspaper Comic Strip: Will Henry
Newspaper Panel Comic: Dave Blazek
Comic Books: Ben Bender
Graphic Novel: Alex Ross
Editorial Cartoon: Matt Davies
Gag Cartoons winner: Christopher Weyant
Book Illustration: Ed Steckley
Magazine/Newspaper Illustration: Nick Galifianakis
Advertising/Product Illustration: Dave Whamond
Variety Entertainment: Scott Nickel