I’m very proud and deeply honoured to commence my term as 36th President of the world’s biggest cartooning organisation, the National Cartoonists Society.
The NCS has been an enormous part of my life for many years, and I’m thrilled to be able to dedicate my time and energy to helping the organisation thrive and progress forward.
A big debt of gratitude is owed to the outgoing President, Bill Morrison, who has presided over the NCS for the last 4 years. During some of the most transformational years in our industry, Bill has done a tremendous job of fostering an inclusive and increasingly diverse NCS, reflected in both within the board and the membership at large.
Under his leadership, we are now lucky to have a broader cross-section of artists in our ranks than at any other time in our 73 years, and I, along with our new board, intend to continue his good work taking the NCS forward in that direction. We want to welcome artists from all ages and backgrounds, and now, all countries into the NCS.
Jason Chatfield - President
Ed Steckley - 1st Vice President
John Hambrock - 2nd Vice President
Teresa Logan - 3rd Vice President
Joe Wos - Secretary
Drew Aquilina - Treasurer
Greg Cravens - Membership Chair
Karen Evans - National Representative
What is the NCS?
For those of you unfamiliar; The National Cartoonists Society is the world's largest and most prestigious organization of professional cartoonists. It was born in 1946 when groups of cartoonists got together to entertain the Allied troops. They found that they enjoyed each other's company and decided to meet on a regular basis.
Today, the NCS membership roster includes over 500 of the world's major cartoonists, working in many branches of the profession, including newspaper comic strips and panels, comic books and graphic novels, editorial cartoons, animation, gag cartoons, greeting cards, advertising, magazine and book illustration, online comics, and more.
Membership is limited to established professional cartoonists, with a few exceptions of outstanding persons in affiliated fields.
Past NCS President Tom Richmond wrote up a comprehensive post on his blog about the NCS when he took over as President in 2011 which I’d highly recommend. The official website at reuben.org has much more information.
The list below of past-presidents of the NCS is a clear reflection of what has been, for a long time, a heavily male-dominated industry. That aspect of the society is rapidly changing and it couldn’t be happening soon enough. There are big changes in the face of big challenges ahead for the organization, so you can rest assured that the future of the NCS is anything but ‘business as usual.’
And I guess I can announce now, that you can hear more from Bill and myself, along with a roster of our talented NCS members whom we will showcase to the international audience, in the brand new NCS Podcast!
This is one of several new initiatives we will be rolling out in the coming year to attract new and varied members into the NCS family and showcase the talents of our existing members.
For those of you who have no idea who I am, (and that’s probably a LOT of you), I’ll give you a 20 second background:
I started out working in commercial printing and Newspapers when I was 17 in a city called Perth, in Western Australia. I was an editorial cartoonist, and took caricature commissions and did live caricatures at events. I then continued that work while I took over a syndicated legacy strip which is published daily in 34 countries through Andrews McMeel, which I’ve been working on for 12 years. I now live and work in New York and in addition to the strip, I draw gag cartoons for The New Yorker and MAD, (and when Ed Steckley gets an advertising illustration job he really doesn’t want to do.. well, then he flicks it over to me and I do that, too.)
I tell you that more than anything to reassure you that I don’t come from any one discipline of cartooning— I admire and respect our art form in all its forms, online and offline, and I hope that myself and this new board can offer value and balance for all of our members from all walks.
As the writer and artist on a 98 year-old legacy strip, I’ve learned a thing or two about modernising a cherished decades-old institution. My intention is never to betray the loyalty and generosity of those of you who have supported the NCS for so many years, but ensure everyone feels a sense of welcome and belonging.
I look forward to the exciting times we have ahead of us. Thank you to the NCS for the opportunity to contribute to the history of this fantastic organization.