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Lalo Alcaraz posing with a copy of his cartoon, Vacuna o Muerte(Vaccine or Death). Photo credit: Instagram/@laloalcaraz1
Lalo Alcaraz posing with a copy of his cartoon, Vacuna o Muerte (Vaccine or Death). Photo credit: Instagram/@laloalcaraz1

Cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz wins the Herblock Prize

He is the first Latino to win this award, with the judges citing his work on issues affecting the community as the reason for his win.

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Lalo Alcaraz has become the first Latino to win the Herblock Prize for excellence in editorial cartooning. The prize is named after Herb Block, an editorial cartoonist from the Washington Post whose career spanned from World War II to the first year of George W. Bush’s presidency. Block won numerous Pulitzer Prizes during his career, including one for Public Service on the Watergate scandal. The Prize has been handed out annually since 2004, three years after Block’s death. 

Alcaraz is a Mexican-American editorial cartoonist from San Diego. He is the founder of La Cucaracha, a Latino-focused daily comic strip and POCHO, a satirical website. La Cucaracha is the first political Latino comic strip to be nationally syndicated and has been running since 2002. 

He previously worked for the LA Weekly as an editorial cartoonist and Otis College of Fine Art & Design as an illustration faculty member. Alcaraz also worked on Pixar’s COCO as a Cultural Consultant. After the movie came out, he called out Pixar’s parent company, Disney, for its effort to trademark Dia de los Muertos, the holiday COCO is based on. 

His cartoons have been featured in galleries, publications, television, and documentaries. He has several books out, including “Migra Mouse: Political Cartoons on Immigration and Latino USA: A Cartoon History, 15th Anniversary Edition.” Alcaraz is currently the Visual Artist In Residence for the School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University. 

He has also done editorial cartoons for many different publications, including Daily Kos and AL DÍA News. 

Most recently, he has used his cartoons to combat vaccine hesitancy among Latinos, partnering with CovidLatino.org and the California Department of Public Health. One of his vaccine cartoons, Vacunao o Muerte (Vaccine or Death), was cited by the judges’ statement. The piece is a homage to the protest poster by Emanuel Martínez, Tierra o Muerte (Land or Death).  

He received his Bachelor’s in Art from San Diego State University and his Master’s in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley.    

In addition to the Herblock Prize, Alcaraz has won six Southern California Press Awards for Best Editorial Cartoon, and was also a 2020 Pulitzer Prize finalist. 

The Herblock judges said of his work, “Powerful versatility. That is one way to describe the work of cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz. Alcaraz is equally as comfortable creating a faux woodblock print to address our country's history of racism and xenophobia as he is mocking up a blueprint to satirize a rich white billionaire with a space rocket. From a stark dripping red MAGA hat that could be the corporate logo for the bloody January 6th insurrection, to a complex movie poster parody ridiculing right-wing conspiracies, Alcaraz's cartoons always hit their mark.

Alcaraz will receive the Herblock Prize on April 26, 2022, at the Library of Congress. In addition to a trophy, he will also receive a $15,000 cash prize.

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