Disney legend Floyd Norman to be awarded the Milton Caniff at 2019 Reubens

On May 17th the National Cartoonists Society will present Disney legend Floyd Norman with the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award at the 73rd Annual Reuben Awards in Huntington Beach, California.

The Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award is given by unanimous vote of the NCS Board of Directors for a lifetime of outstanding and accomplished work in the field of cartooning.

Floyd Norman is an animator, writer, comic strip and comic book artist, and a bonafide “Disney Legend.” Over the course of his stellar career, Norman has worked for a number of animation companies in addition to Walt Disney Animation Studios, including Hanna-Barbera Productions, Ruby-Spears, Film Roman and Pixar.

Floyd had his start as an assistant to Katy Keene comic book artist Bill Woggon. In 1956, he was employed as an “in-betweener” on Sleeping Beauty at The Walt Disney Company, becoming the first African-American artist to work at the studio on a long-term basis. He has since been instrumental in the creation of Disney classics including Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Mulan, Toy Story 2, and many more beloved films. In 2007, Floyd was inducted into the Disney Hall of Fame with the “Disney Legend Award.”

Norman has also published several books of cartoons inspired by his lifetime of experiences in the animation industry, Faster! Cheaper!: The Flip Side to the Art of Animation, How the Grinch Stole Disney, Suspended Animation: The Art Form That Refuses To Die, and several others.

Floyd is also the subject of the 2016 documentary Floyd Norman: An Animated Life, and in that same year was appointed to the education and outreach committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

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.

NCS president Bill Morrison said of Norman, “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the Caniff award than Floyd Norman. His career that spans seven decades is bejewelled with accomplishments that have advanced the art of cartooning and opened doors for a multitude of talented and deserving animators, writers, and artists.”

Floyd Norman joins a roster of prior Caniff recipients that includes such notable cartoonists and illustrators as Frank Frazetta, Dale Messick, Joe Kubert, Morrie Turner, Lynda Barry, Will Eisner, Al Hirschfeld, Jack Davis, Jules Feiffer, Sandra Boynton, Jerry Robinson, and many more iconic artists.

Mort Drucker to Receive NCS Medal of Honor

When I was 25, a ganglier, dorkier version of my current self (if you could imagine that) flew to New York for the second time.

I took the train up to Long Island where my friend Adrian C. Sinnott generously arranged to drive me to meet to one of mine -and literally thousands of other artists’- heroes; Mort Drucker.

To give you some idea of my admiration for Mort, he is my "Larry David of Cartooning." I had the surreal privilege of sitting with Mort in his home studio and watching him draw. He showed me his Time Magazine covers, his MAD Covers, some advertising work he had on the drawing board that afternoon -it was like watching one of the old masters at work.

Having him tell me about how hands, if drawn the right way, can be just as expressive as the face was an invaluable lesson. He has this amazing ability to inject humour and motion into these otherwise bland scenes- anyone who was a fan of his MAD Parodies knows what I’m talking about. Everything he was drawing, he was explaining to me as he did it. Every line had a purpose to it, a reason for it being there.




You know when someone shows you how a thing work and it just ‘unlocks’ something in your brain? That happened. I learned more about drawing that afternoon than in the whole time I’d been a cartoonist before that. My style and approach to cartooning fundamentally changed from that day forward, thanks to Mort’s time and generosity.

I look at artwork I did even last week and all I see is mistakes (I’m not alone on that), but I look back at the artwork I was turning out “Before-Mort” (BM) and I get stomach cramps. I look at the stuff ‘After Mort’ (AM) and it’s almost as if it were drawn by someone completely different. mort-preafter At the end of the visit he took out an issue of MAD that he’d drawn the cover for -a Spider-Man parody- and signed it for me. It has hung on my studio wall ever since. (He didn’t even know how big a Spidey fan I was when he picked out that cover of all covers to sign…) Photos - 4231 His MAD book, “Mort Drucker, 5 Decades of His Finest Works” was one of the few things I kept in my suitcase when I moved to New York. To this day, it’s one of the greatest references I own. Mort This weekend, Mort will be the inaugural honouree of the “NCS Medal of Honour” at the 69th Annual NCS Reuben Awards in Washington D.C. The Medal of Honor is a lifetime achievement award bestowed upon a cartoonist “in recognition of a long and distinguished career of continued excellence in cartooning that has set the highest of standards and inspiration.”

I can’t think of a more fitting award for one of the most humble, generous and influential artists of the last century.


To read more on Mort’s career and his being honoured this weekend, read on: 4343_104722686202_6597756_n




Off to the San Diego Reubens!

Tomorrow I'm off to the NCS Reuben Awards Weekend in San Diego. It's a great weekend, a lot of organising for the NCS guys, but a hell of a lot of fun. I had the honour of hosting the awards last year. If you missed it, here's a slice...

This from Tom Richmond's Blog:

This weekend is the big National Cartoonists Society Reuben Award Weekend in San Diego, where between 200-300 cartoonists will get together and eat, drink, be merry, and honor their fellow cartoonists with various awards. This year, we’ll be honoring some other folks as well… those that have served our country in the military.

Those who follow this blog will know I have been privileged to have been a part of several USO cartoonist tours to visit both wounded warriors and serving active military personnel in places like Germany, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations both in and out of war zones. Our groups meet and draw for the troops, trying to bring some smiles to some folks who could use them. The NCS has been very active in supporting our soldiers over the years, dating back to the very beginning of the organization in World War II.

This weekend the NCS will be spending our Sunday doing a little domestic-side troop support. Thanks to sponsorship from the USO, IDW Publishing and membersMicheal Rameriez and Jeff Keane (both of whom have been on several of those fore mentioned tours), we will be doing several events with U.S. military service men and women.

Naval Medical Center Visit- About 70 cartoonists will get bussed up to the Balboa area to visit the naval hospital there to draw for wounded warriors, staff and their families. This will be very similar to what we do on the USO tours, especially the ones we take to places like the Landstuhl Medical Center in Germany, and Walter Reed, Bathesda Naval Hopsital or Brooke Medical Center here in the states. Many of the cartoonists will set up in a large commons area near the dining facilities, and others will be formed into small groups to visit patients who are not ambulatory.

USS Midway Museum Event- From 1:00 pm to 4:00 over 100 cartoonists will be set up and drawing on the aircraft carrier/museum the USS Midway in support of Legacy Week, a Memorial Day Weekend celebration honoring those who serve and have severed our country. Sketches and autographs are free but donations are encouraged in support of a charity TBA. This is open to the public and is our annual National Cartoonist Society Foundation outreach event, so come by and see us!

NCS Salutes the Troops Reception- That evening our traditional Sunday farewell gala will be on the deck of the USS Midway, where we will host a number of wounded warriors and their families, folks from the USO and enjoy the music of the DeLuz Band featuring Pulitzer prize winning cartoonist and terrific musician Michael Ramirez.

I’m looking forward to the entire weekend, but Sunday is going to be particularly special.