Takes the prize

No red carpets or gold-plated statuettes, but it’s awards season in Toontown. John Sherffius picked up the first big one, the Herblock Prize, named for legendary Washington Post cartoonist Herbert Block. Jim Morin, Miami Herald cartoonist and one of the jurors, called Sherffius’ submissions “the best the art of editorial cartooning has to offer,” adding that “through a potent combination of excellent drawing technique, striking original imagery and passionate conviction, his cartoons kick you in the gut.”

Sherffius, a Los Angeles native, credits former Times cartoonist Paul Conrad, who won two of his three Pulitzers at the paper, with influencing his stark, hard-hitting style. Incidentally, the $10,000 tax-free prize is funded by a tiny part of Block’s $100-million-plus estate. You read that right. Sherffius, by contrast, feels grateful for his freelance gig in Boulder, Colo. Times have changed for cartoonists. Talk about a kick in the gut.

-- Joel Pett

Joel Pett is the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist of the Lexington Herald-Leader. His work also appears in USA Today.