Reuben will be awarded at cartoon convention here

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Nominees for the Reuben Awards' Cartoonist of the Year, bestowed by the National Cartoonist Society, have been announced, with top honor to be awarded May 25 at the society's convention in Pittsburgh.

Finalists are Brian Crane, creator of "Pickles,";Rick Kirkman, co-creator of "Baby Blues," and Stephan Pastis, creator of "Pearls Before Swine." Original art by the nominees and winners from the previous 60 years of the Reubens will be displayed at the ToonSeum in the Pittsburgh Cultural District from May 23 to July 14.

With Jerry Scott, Arizonian Mr. Kirkman is the creator of "Baby Blues," a syndicated comic strip that appears in 1,200 newspapers in 900 cities. Five-time nominee Mr. Pastis was a Bay Area lawyer whose "Pearls Before Swine," was launched in 2001; it appears in 650 newspapers worldwide. Both comics are published in the Post-Gazette. Mr. Crane, of Reno, Nev., is a three-time nominee whose "Pickles" strip, about a retired couple in their 70s, appears in 800 newspapers. Details: www.reuben.org.

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