The Washington Post

2012 HERBLOCK PRIZE: Matt Bors becomes first alt-editorial cartoonist to win the $15K award

“Matt Bors’ editorial cartoon on the death of Steve Jobs,” theHerblock Prize judging panel said, “minced off-shore capitalism, Chinese sweatshops, at least two religions and idiotic cartoon clichés.” (MATT BORS /

MATT BORS, whose professional highlights last year ranged from up-close comics journalism in Haiti to a withering Steve Jobs obituary cartoon, has just been named the 2012 recipient of the Herblock Prize.

The Portland-based Bors becomes the first alternative political cartoonist to win the award, the Herb Block Foundation announced Monday afternoon.

“It’s an honor and was completely unexpected,” the nationally syndicated Bors tells Comic Riffs. “I’m humbled to be included in the group of previous winners” — a list that includes such recent recipients as Politico’s Matt Wuerker and The Post’s Tom Toles.

The honor notably comes with a $15,000 “after-tax cash prize.”

“The prize money is extremely generous and important, as it is more than I’ve ever made in a year from my editorial cartoons,” Bors tells Comic Riffs. “I’m going to put it to use redesigning my site and devoting myself to ways I can keep this going for the long haul.” Bors blogs at and helps run the Cartoon Movement website.

[STEVE JOBS SMACKDOWN: Matt Bors delivers our Cartoon of the Day]

Bors’s cartoons are “relevant, smart, surprising, wickedly funny,” said Toles, who was one of the judges along with the Philadelphia Daily News’ Signe Wilkinson and Jenny Robb, curator at OSU’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. Wilkinson cited Bors’s memorable Jobs “obit” cartoon, which she said was “the most masterful cartoon of this masterful collection.”

[“HAITI’S SCAPEGOATS”: Cartoon Movement’s compelling video tells of LGBT abuse]

This year’s finalist for the Herblock Prize is Jen Sorensen, creator of the alt-cartoon Slowpoke, whom Bors calls “a great cartoonist.” The honor comes with a $5,000 cash prize.

“It's so nice to see our genre of political cartooning acknowledged after so many years in the wilderness,” Sorensen tells Comic Riffs. “I'm, of course, deeply flattered.”

The Herblock Prize honors “distinguished examples of editorial cartooning that exemplify the courageous standard set by” legendary Washington Post political cartoonist “Herblock.”

Bors and Sorensen will receive their awards May 10 in a Library of Congress ceremony, at which “Doonesbury” creator Garry Trudeau will deliver the annual Herblock Lecture.

Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.


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