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ToonSeum's Nemo Award goes to Editorial Cartoonist and Dick Tracy Artist, Dick LocherChicago, Pittsburgh
The ToonSeum, Pittsburgh's museum of cartoon art, is proud to announce that cartoonist Dick Locher has been awarded the ToonSeum's Nemo Award for outstanding contributions to the cartoon arts. The presentation took place at Chicago's Comic Con and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) on March 20, 2011. Rob Rogers, board president of the ToonSeum, presented Locher with the Nemo Award."The ToonSeum is proud to recognize Dick Locher for his outstanding contributions in the field of editorial cartooning, including the Locher Award, created to identify and encourage young editorial cartoonists," said Rogers as he handed Locher the trophy, "and for his tireless and brilliant dedication to keeping the spirit of Dick Tracy fresh and alive in the daily comics pages."Locher, a former Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune and artist/writer for Dick Tracy, was a featured panelist at the convention. The panel, called "Drawing Fire:Editorial Cartooning in a Partisan Age," also featured Scott Stantis of the Chicago Tribune, Bruce Plante of the Tulsa World and Rob Rogers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rogers also moderated the panel.Dick Locher was born in Dubuque, Iowa in 1929. He studied art at the University of Iowa and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. In 1957, after a stint in the Air Force, Locher became the assistant to Chester Gould, creator of Dick Tracy. He worked on the comic strip until 1961 and then left to start his own commercial art business. In1972, Gould recommended Locher for the editorial cartoonist position at the Chicago Tribune. Despite having no experience in editorial cartooning, Locher impressed the editors enough to land the job.In 1983, the same year he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning, Locher returned to the Dick Tracy comic strip, this time working with his son, John. In 1986, at the age of 25, John died suddenly. With help from his fellow cartoonists in the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC), Locher founded the JohnLocher Memorial Award contest. This contest not only honors the memory of Locher's son, but also helps discover and encourage aspiring cartoonists. Since its inception, more than 25 outstanding young cartoonists have won the competition. Most have gone on to excel in their profession and one, Steve Breen, has won the Pulitzer Prize twice.In April 2010, the City of Naperville, Illinois, dedicated a 9-foot, one-ton sculpture of Dick Tracy to honor Dick Locher for his many contributions to Naperville and for being the creative force behind the Dick Tracy strip for 35 years. In February 2011, Locher announced his retirement from writing and drawing Dick Tracy.Joe Wos, founder and executive director of the ToonSeum, describes the Nemo Award as more than just a lifetime achievement award. "The Nemo was created to recognize all aspects of a cartoonist's career, not just the stack of originals, but also his or her devotion to and celebration of the art form. Dick Locher has had an immense impact on the field of cartooning and he deserves to be championed. We are proud to honor him in this way."This is the ToonSeum's third Nemo Award. Previous recipients have been Morrie Turner, creator of Wee Pals, and Ron Frenz, legendary Marvel and D.C. comic book artist.