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LEE SALEM

The National Cartoonists Society doesn’t confer the Silver T-Square every year, and some years, more than one individual is recognized for “outstanding service or contributions to the Society or the profession.” LeeSalem0001The first recipient was Britain’s David Low in 1948. Since then the Silver T-Square has been awarded more than 80 times. Not all the Squares (to play fast and loose with the honorific) have been cartoonists. Most are, but Harry Truman is among the number, as is Dwight Eisenhower, both recognized, if memory serves, while hosting at the White House a breakfast with cartoonists. And Lee Salem, who was awarded the honor this past weekend at the NCS gathering in Pittsburgh, is not the first syndicate official to receive a Silver T-Square: John McMeel, a founder of Universal Press syndicate, Salem’s home base, and Joseph D’Angelo at King Features have both been recognized in recent years (McMeel in 2004; D’Angelo in 2002). 

Salem, long-time Universal editor and, lately, Universal Uclick President, is one of the most influential editors in comics, setting an industry example for supporting his syndicate’s cartoonists and their freedom to express themselves. He also has discovered and cultivated some of the most iconic comics in newspapers including: Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury, Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes, Cathy Guisewite’s Cathy, Gary Larson’s The Far Side, Lynn Johnston’s For Better or For Worse, Aaron McGruder’s The Boondocks, Richard Thompson’s Cul de Sac, and Mark Tatulli’s Lio.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

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