THE HERBLOCK PRIZE continues to be one of the least tradition-bound cartooning honors around.
Last year, Matt Bors became the first alt-editorial cartoonist to win the award.
This year, the Herblock has decided to celebrate one of the vital alt-weekly figures who helped inspire the new generation of alt-political cartoonists like Bors.
The Herb Block Foundation has just announced that Dan Perkins, the ”This Modern World” creator who goes by the nom-de-toon Tom Tomorrow, is the recipient of the 2013 Prize.
“It’s an overwhelming honor,” Perkins tells Comic Riffs on Tuesday morning, “and I’m immensely grateful for it — and very pleased that the genre of alt-weekly cartoons is increasingly being recognized.”
[TOM TOMORROW: The Comic Riffs Interview]
For more than two decades, Perkins has created the wry and biting “This Modern World,” a weekly feature that runs in about 80 newspapers. The Connecticut-based cartoonist continues to create inspired work — even as he has weathered lost clients as the Village Voice chain cut features, as well as the acceleration of response among political satirists ranging from webcartoonists to Comedy Central. Perkins also launched the Daily Kos comics section in 2011.
[REBEL WITH A ‘KOS’: Perkins leaves Salon to curate Kos comics]
The syndicated Bors, who was one of the professional judges this year, said in the foundation’s announcement that Perkins’s portfolio included “some of the smartest political cartoons of the year” that offered “consistently hilarious takedowns of women-bashers, gun culture and the president’s abuse of executive power.”
Another judge, Ohio State comics scholar Jenny Robb (Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum), said that “Tom Tomorrow is both fearless and funny” while also praising his signature graphic style. And judge Steve Brodner (who has created illustrations for The Post) said that Perkins’s “output for the year was consistently strong, intelligent and witty,” noting that “the sequential political cartoon is a vivid and powerful form in his hands.”
Perkins, Bors and last year’s Herblock Prize finalist, Jen Sorensen, all employ the sequential political cartoon.
[2012 HERBLOCK: Trudeau and Bors, masters of comic timing]
The Herb Block Foundation also announced that the 2013 finalist is Jack Ohman, a longtime Oregonian (Portland) cartoonist who recently moved to the Sacramento Bee.
“I’m very excited to be the finalist, but as I have said many times, Dan deserves everything he gets,” Ohman, a 2012 Pulitzer finalist, tells Comic Riffs on Tuesday morning. “He’s truly a pathfinder in the profession.
“I think this is long overdue for him.”
In praising Ohman's work, Robb noted: “In addition to producing strong traditional editorial cartoon, [he] has developed a unique and effective multi-panel strip that is part journalism, part memoir and part satire.”
Named for the legendary Post cartoonist, the Herblock Prize is given annually to “distinguished examples of editorial cartooning that exemplify the courageous independent standard set by Herblock.”
Perkins will receive a $15,000 cash prize and Ohman will get $5,000 at the Herblock Prize ceremony April 25 at the Library of Congress. The ceremony’s Herblock Lecture will be given by “Washington Week”/”PBS NewsHour” editor/correspondent Gwen Ifill.