“I consider the Herblock Prize to be a special honor,” KAL told The Post’s Comic Riffs. “Its mission is to promote excellence in the craft of editorial cartooning, and to highlight the fight against injustice that was a hallmark of Herblock’s work.
“I am honored and humbled to have been selected for this extraordinary award.”
KAL’s work for both the Sun and the Economist impressed the jury.
“His portfolio reflected his dual editorial-cartoonist roles, and impressed the judges with his ability to jump between macro-international policy issues to Baltimore mayor’s stonewalling about the accuracy of its speed cameras,” the Herb Block Foundation said in its release. “Like Herblock, KAL is a committed defender of civil liberties. His full-page cartoon on Edward Snowden is a minor masterpiece.”
“Whether single-panel, circular or multi-panel,” the judges noted, “his cartoons are clear, thoughtful, forceful and in the best tradition of Herblock.” KAL’s honor marks the fourth straight year that the Herblock Prize-winning portfolio has consisted largely of multi-panel cartoons.
A Connecticut native, KAL has been an editorial artist for nearly four decades, and his cartoons are distributed by CartoonArts International and the New York Times Syndicate. He is also a four-time recipient of the Overseas Press Club’s Thomas Nast Award, has won the National Press Foundation’s Berryman Award, and is artist-in-residence at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
The Herblock Prize annually recognizes “distinguished examples of editorial cartooning that exemplify the courageous independent standard set by Herblock,” the legendary Washington Post cartoonist. The Herb Block Foundation created the prize in 2004, it says, “to encourage editorial cartooning as an essential tool for preserving the rights of the American people through freedom of speech and the right of expression.”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution cartoonist Mike Luckovich was named the 2015 Herblock finalist, as the judges noted that “his sharp and witty cartoons on Ferguson, Missouri, as well as [on] torture, the Koch brothers and legal attacks on the Affordable Care Act, stood out.”
This year’s judges were 2014 Herblock Prize recipient Jen Sorensen; Sara W. Duke, the Library of Congress’s curator of Popular and Applied Graphic Art; and archivist/author Michael Rhode (Washington City Paper, ComicsDC blog).
KAL will receive the award’s $15,000 cash prize on May 7 in a ceremony at the Library of Congress. This year’s Herblock Lecture will be delivered by longtime Washington Post publisher Don Graham, who is now board chairman and CEO of Graham Holdings Company.