EVEN AS Terri Libenson receives recognition, the mind of the cartoonist naturally gravitates toward the punch line.

Her syndicated feature “The Pajama Diaries” has just been named a finalist for the National Cartoonists Society‘s Silver Reuben award.  Her fellow finalists in the Newspaper Strips category are “Lio” creator Mark Tatulli and “Pearls Before Swine” creator Stephan Pastis.

“I’ve got some tough competition, for sure. But it’s okay,” Libenson assures with a wink. “I’ve hired some goons to take Mark and Stephan out.”

“I’m not afraid,” Pastis tells us with his retort of a punch line. “I can still win posthumously.”

Forty-six cartoonists and titles in 14 categories have just been named 2015 divisional nominees as part of the NCS’s Reuben Awards, which some consider “the Golden Globes of comics.” (Many now consider the Eisners, by comparison, to be the Oscars of the comics industry.)

That nickname could bode well for Pixar’s “Inside Out,” which is nominated in the Feature Animation category; earlier this year, the Pixar film actually won the Golden Globe, as well as the Oscar.

“It’s really due to comics that I got into animation to begin with,” “Inside Out” director-writer Pete Docter tells The Post’s Comic Riffs, “so to be nominated by these amazingly talented cartoonists is amazing!”

The other animated-feature finalists are Ale Abreu’s Oscar-nominated “Boy and the World” and Blue Sky Studios/Sony’s Golden Globe-nominated “The Peanuts Movie,” directed by Steve Martino.

“After receiving two Reuben Awards in his lifetime, I think my dad would be thrilled that his beloved characters have once again been nominated for an NCS award,” says Craig Schulz, who co-write the “Peanuts Movie” script with son Bryan Schulz and Cornelius Uliano, based on the comic strip created by his father, Charles M. “Sparky” Schulz.

Leading the field is Australia-based artist Anton Emdin, who is nominated for Newspaper Illustration, Advertising/Product Illustration and Magazine/Feature Illustration.

“I’m amazed, overwhelmed and most of all totally honored to be nominated in three [Silver] Reubens categories — especially considering the high quality of work over all the categories,” Emdin tells Comic Riffs.

Elsewhere, Dave Kellett is nominated twice, for both long-form (“Drive”) and short-form (“Sheldon”) online comics.

“It’s a huge honor to be listed among cartoonists I know and respect as working at the top of their game,” Kellett tells Comic Riffs. “And to have both of my strips … be nominated at the same time is such fun! Now I need to throw a shiv between them, and make my two strips fight for my love.”

Also nominated in two categories is Glen Le Lievre, for Newspaper Illustration and Gag Cartoons.

[2015 Reubens: 6 King Features cartoonists to salute centennial at Library of Congress event]

“At last, my enormous talent and good looks are being recognized,” says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mike Luckovich, before — true to cartoonists’ form — adding his own kicker: “As you can see, I have nothing intelligent to offer.” He is nominated for Political Cartoons alongside Michael Ramirez of Investor’s Business Daily and The Post’s Ann Telnaes.

The winners will be announced May 28 at the NCS Reuben Awards ceremony in Memphis.

Here is the complete list of “Silver Reuben” nominees:

 

NEWSPAPER STRIPS:

“Lio”


(Universal Uclick 2015)

“Pajama Diaries”


“Pajama Diaries,” by Terri Libenson (King Features 2015)

“Pearls Before Swine”


“Pearls Before Swine,” by Stephan Pastis (Universal Uclick 2015)

 

POLITICAL CARTOONS:

Mike Luckovich


by Mike Luckovich (Atlanta Journal Constitution & WPWG 2015)

Michael Ramirez


by Michael Ramirez (Investors Business Daily & Creators.com 2015)

Ann Telnaes

by Ann Telnaes (WashingtonPost.com 2015)
by Ann Telnaes (WashingtonPost.com 2015)

 

NEWSPAPER PANELS:

“The Argyle Sweater”

"The Argyle Sweater," by Scott Hilburn (Universal Uclick 2015)
“The Argyle Sweater,” by Scott Hilburn (Universal Uclick 2015)

“Bizarro”


“Bizarro,” by Dan Piraro (King Features 2015)

“The Flying McCoys”


“The Flying McCoys,” by Glenn and Gary McCoy (Universal Uclick 2015)

“Reality Check”


“Reality Check,” by Dave Whamond (Universal Uclick 2015)

.

FEATURE ANIMATION

“Boy and the World”

“Inside Out”

“The Peanuts Movie”

 

TELEVISION ANIMATION

“Tumble Leaf” (Amazon) — Drew Hodges

“Puffin Rock” (Netflix) — Maurice Joyce

“Zack & Quack” (Nick Jr.) — Gili Dolev and Yvette Kaplan

 

GAG CARTOONS

Glen Le Lievre

Benjamin Schwartz

David Sipress

 

ADVERTISING/PRODUCT ILLUSTRATION

Ray Alma

Anton Emdin

Luke McGarry

 

GREETING CARDS

Jim Benton

Scott Nickel

Robin Rawlings

 

COMIC BOOKS

Giant Days (Boom Box) — Max Sarin

Prez (DC Comics) — Ben Caldwell

Squirrel Girl (Marvel) — Erica Henderson

 

GRAPHIC NOVELS

“Nanjing the Burning City” (Dark Horse) — Ethan Young

“New Deal” (Dark Horse) — Jonathan Case

“Two Brothers” (Dark Horse) — Gabriel Ba

 

MAGAZINE FEATURE/ILLUSTRATION

Anton Emdin

Rich Powell

Julia Suits

 

ONLINE LONG FORM COMICS

Drive (Dave Kellett)

The Creepy Casefiles of Margo Maloo (Drew Weing)

Octopus Pie (Meredith Gran)

 

ONLINE SHORT-FORM COMICS

Bouletcorp (Boulet)

Kevin & Kell (Bill Holbrook)

Sheldon (Dave Kellett)

 

BOOK ILLUSTRATION

“Smick” — Juana Medina

“Sidewalk Flowers” — Sydney Smith

“The First Case” — Gitte Spee

 

Read more:

The New Yorker’s Roz Chast wins the Reuben Award 

Here are the 2015 Silver Reuben winners 

Here are the 2014 Reubens ceremony winners

Here are your 2013 Reuben Award winners