NO FATHER and son have ever both won the esteemed Reuben Award. That could change this May.
Over the weekend, the National Cartoonists Society announced that Oscar-winning animator Glen Keane is one of five finalists for its annual Reuben Award for outstanding cartoonist of the year. Thirty-six years ago, his father, “Family Circus” creator Bil Keane, received the same honor.
This year’s other finalists for the Reuben are cartoonist-educator Lynda Barry (“Ernie Pook’s Comeek”), “Pearls Before Swine” creator Stephan Pastis, “Rhymes With Orange” creator Hilary B. Price, and “Lio” and “Heart of the City” creator Mark Tatulli.
The Reuben Awards are sometimes described as “the Golden Globes of cartooning.” All five of this year’s nominees are previous finalists.
Glen Keane, a “Disney Legend” and character animator on such films as “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Pocahontas” and “Tangled,” received the Academy Award last month for his animated short “Dear Basketball” with Kobe Bryant. His son, Max Keane, worked on production design and storyboarding for that short.
“I’m extraordinarily grateful that I get to do what I love — animate — for a living,” Keane told The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs in January.
Besides being an Eisner Hall of Fame cartoonist, Barry teaches at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she helps people learn to “speak” in the language of comics.