Edison and the Reubens

As most of you know by now, The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee  is up for an award from the National Cartoonist's Society. It has been nominated in the newspaper strip category along with Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller and Zits by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman. I have not blogged about the nomination up to this point because I guess, in many ways, I am still trying to wrap my head around it. For John's work to be nominated for any award is such a thrill. For it to be nominated for an award by his peers is even more thrilling. For it to be nominated in the company of such giants in the industry as Wiley Miller, Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman is beyond mind blowing.

Another reason I haven't spoken out publicly is because I am in an unusual position. To my knowledge, other wives of cartoonists don't have public blogs. There are a lot of days where I'm not sure why I have one, to tell you the truth. It started because John's blog (Lab Notes) won't let him enable comments and also because he truly doesn't have much time to write up blog posts on anything like a regular basis. He's lucky if he manages one a month, let alone putting up something every week. So we started this second blog because I had the time and energy to keep up with it.

And why blog about the things I do anyway, you might ask? I guess I try to look at this space as the extra behind the scenes commentary you get on special edition DVDs. I just love watching Monty Python's Holy Grail with the various bits of commentary from all the cast and crew.

So, in that vein, I'm prepared to do a little "fly on the wall" blogging from the point of view of "cartoonist spouse on the street".

First, John has been quoted as saying that, despite the cliche'  quality of this phrase, this is one of those cases where it truly is an honor just to be nominated. And you have to know he really means that. No matter what happens at the Reubens, he has been given a thumbs up from his fellow cartoonists that can never be taken away. 

Second, is my very real hope that the nomination itself - not even a win, just a nomination - might be enough to put the strip over the magic number of newspapers and online subscribers it would take for John to finally be able to quit his other job. 

As I type those words, I feel guilty for wanting the other job to go away because, in this economy we are lucky to still have other jobs while so many people are looking for work. But I cannot begin to describe to you how hard it is to watch John put in these 80+ hour workweeks. Not only does he work 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. pretty much 7 days a week - with occasional breaks for dinner and piano recitals (oh, and roofing) - but both his jobs require continual creativity which is exhausting.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not trying to paint him as some super human martyr. Those of you in the cartooning business know what I'm talking about because, if you're not in enough papers to make a living solely from your strip, you're pulling exactly the same kind of hours. I just don't think folks outside the business have any concept of the time and energy it takes to produce 365 illustrated jokes a year. I know that, before John got syndicated, I hadn't a clue what the workload would be like. Or how hard it would be to dovetail it with the rest of our lives.

All I'm trying to say is, being a cartoonist is a difficult prospect at any time and is an extraordinarily difficult prospect in the current market of media transition. Getting recognition like this is like a ray of sunshine after some very cloudy, rainy, windy days, and is something that I look forward to seeing happen for many other deserving cartoonists working today. There are so many who are doing terrific work that may be flying a little under the public radar. 

Someone asked me if I had practiced my "polite loser" face for when they say "Non Sequitur" or "Zits" - you know, like at the Oscars where they split the screen 5 ways and show all the nominees reaction when the name gets announced and you get this sort of frozen look on the faces of the people who don't win. 

I said "Of course not!" because, 

A) luckily for us they don't televise these awards and the only people who see you are the folks at your table 

B)if I have to practice any kind of face it will be the one that isn't fainting from shock if he wins. I'm going to try very hard not to look like one of those people on the Antiques Road Show whose Grandma's necklace (you know, the one everyone thought was costume jewelry) is worth $250,000.

C)Hellooo - I'm not nominated - he is -no one is going to be looking at me anyway :-) 

So, until I hear the magic words - "And the winner is..." I'll keep floating on the little cloud I've been on as the "supportive spouse" and, no matter who wins, the thrill of the nomination will last forever.

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