Thursday, June 10, 2021

Mort Gerberg Awarded Gold Key Award

 From the National Cartoonists Society website.

The National Cartoonists Society takes great pleasure in announcing that the Gold Key Award will be presented this year to Mort Gerberg, for his widely-varied and successful career of over 60 years as a cartoonist.

The Gold Key, awarded by unanimous vote of the NCS Board of Directors, honors the recipient as a member of the NCS Hall of Fame.
Mort’s first cartoon was published in 1961 in Paul Krassner’s “The Realist”, which began his career spanning the disciplines of gag cartooning, illustration, comic strips, publishing, advertising, teaching, reportage illustration, animation, live-drawing for television, and writing.

In a 2019 retrospective exhibition, the New York Historical Society wrote:

Illustrated with a sensitivity and humor that have made him beloved by his audiences, Mort Gerberg’s work has been featured in major publications, including the New Yorker, Playboy and Saturday Review. 
Throughout his career Gerberg’s cartoons have been drawn from subjects ranging from social consciousness to music and sports. Known for combining artistry with intuitive wit, he chronicles and comments on contemporary events that become history.

Gerberg has written, edited and/or illustrated over 45 books for adults and children. 

They include: 
  • Cartooning: The Art and the Business
  • Last Laughs: Cartoons About Aging, Retirement … and the Great Beyond 
  • The Art in Cartooning with Ed Fisher
  • Joy in Mudville: The Big Book of Baseball Humor, with Dick Schaap
  • The All-Jewish Cartoon Collection
  • Right on Sister
  • The High Society
  • Mort Gerberg on the Scene: A 50-Year Cartoon Chronicle (published by Fantagraphics) 
  • and the children’s books Why Did Halley’s Comet Cross The Universe?, Geographunny, and the best-selling More Spaghetti, I Say.

For television, Gerberg wrote and drew an animated fable, “Opportunity Buzzes” for PBS’s 51st State on Channel 13, New York, and wrote and drew three animated skits for the feminist show, Woman, on CBS, in 1972. 

He drew twice-daily topical cartoons and a weekly on-camera-drawing feature, “Cartoon Views of the News” for NBC’s Channel Four, New York in 1975-1978. 

In the early 1990s Gerberg was also a content provider for ABC-TV Multimedia, Prodigy, America Online and, online,

His work expanded into on-the-scene sketch reportage assignments for print and television, drawing and writing about national and international events. 

They included “swinging London” in 1967, The Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968, The New York Mets’ pennant win in 1969, an African safari in 1972, New York Knick fans in 1973, and the U.S. Open at Forest Hills in 1976.

Mort’s work was often ahead of its time, tackling such subjects as women’s rights and racial inequality, among others. 

In 2014, The Library of Congress acquired 79 of Gerberg’s original pen and ink drawings for cartoons and reportage that had been published in several different venues.

His generosity and enthusiasm towards his fellow established artists and young up-and-coming cartoonists has been a large part of his career, and his voluntary contribution to the National Cartoonists Society is deeply appreciated. 

Mort taught cartooning for over 15 years at New York City’s Parsons School of Design and for the New School’s distance learning program.

He has shown no signs of slowing down: At the age of 90, he would still make the trip on foot to the New Yorker magazine’s offices at One World Trade to pitch his batch of new gags to the Cartoon Editor. 

As the star pitcher on the New Yorker softball team, he is affectionately known as Mort “The Fort” Gerberg.

The presentation of the award will be part of the 2021 Reubens Weekend, which, after a member poll, will once again be held virtually as NCSFest on the weekend of October 15. 

Mort will join the NCS Hall of Fame alongside the following 16 inductees:

1977 Hal Foster
1978 Edwina Dumm
1979 Raeburn Van Buren
1979 Herbert Block
1980 Rube Goldberg (posthumous)
1981 Milton Caniff
2000 Arnold Roth
2005 Larry Katzman
2006 Mort Walker
2008 Bil Keane
2009 Mell Lazarus
2010 Bill Gallo
2011 Roy Doty
2012 Stan Goldberg
2013 Bunny Hoest & John Reiner

Further reading:
Mort Gerberg on Fifty Years of Cartooning“, The New Yorker, 2019

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