Designing a Trophy

The following is the behind-the-scenes account of the creation of The Sergio Award as it appeared in the CAPS banquet program book on October 21, 2006, the night the award was unveiled:

Next year CAPS turns 30 years old. In 1977, cartoonist Don Rico, writer Mark Evanier, and MAD Magazine’s own Sergio Aragonès joined together and formed the early version of the Comic Art Professional Society in Los Angeles. Over the years this independent organization has existed for the camaraderie and education of fellow professional cartoonists and writers of print media. Even today we meet monthly in Burbank, California, where we can get out of our studios and come together to talk shop and hear fellow professionals speak about their work.

Earlier this year, the CAPS board began to discuss the possibility of having our own award to give the honorees of our annual banquets. In the past we have given certificates, which evolved into a nice plaque that differed from year to year. The time had come to design and produce our own award. But where to begin? Mark Dos Santos (Secretary), Michael Aushenker (Treasurer), Bill Morrison (Vice-President) and Chad Frye (President) came to one unanimous conclusion – Sergio must be the designer of our award.

While things have changed with our organization over time, throughout all those 29 years one thing has remained consistent about CAPS – Sergio Aragonès. Sergio has been a vital part of CAPS being a voice of reason to the club leadership, leading the charge as auctioneer in our annual auctions, lending advice to younger cartoonists coming in, and inspiring those of us around him to just LOVE our business. Sergio IS CAPS.

Sergio was glad to accept our invitation to design the CAPS award. Our only direction to him was that it should reflect our membership of cartoonists AND writers, and it must also reflect the Sergio whimsy. Then we waited with bated breath to see what our patriarch would come back with.

During that time, we discussed what we should call our impending new award. All good awards have a name: the Oscar, the Emmy, the Reuben, the Golden Globe, the Eisner, Miss Congeniality – you name it. We tossed around a few ideas, but the more we thought about it, the more it was obvious. This new CAPS award should be called “The Sergio”.

But was that taking things too far? Would the membership like it? Would Sergio hate it? All these doubts and more creeped in, but were quickly dispelled. At a recent membership meeting, several folks suggested we call it “The Sergio”. When even outsiders heard Sergio was designing the CAPS award, they asked if we were going to call it “The Sergio”. With so much respect in our industry for this man, and so much respect from those of us who have the privilege to spend time with him, we christen this new CAPS award “The Sergio” out of our love and admiration.

Sergio’s design captured perfectly the ideals of CAPS. The computer represents the work of our members who are writers, while the figure represents the drawing side of things. And of course, the foot stuck in the bottle of ink is pure Sergio. It was everything we hoped for.

Once Sergio finished his final drawings for the award, we gave his art to master sculptor Rubèn Procopio. Rubèn worked for Disney Feature Animation for many years as a clean-up lead artist and as a sculptor of many of their maquettes. These days he works full-time as a sculptor with clients such as Electric Tiki, Disney Classics Collection, and even toy companies (see his work at He graciously took on our project while in the midst of a very busy schedule and simply worked wonders.

When Rubèn heard what we planned to name this award, he busied himself on creating this terrific sculpt making one slight change to what Sergio had intended. He looked up some of Sergio’s work to find his self-caricatures. These served as Rubèn’s inspiration to make the statue look like Sergio, a change Sergio has only become aware of tonight.

We hope that you agree that this wonderful whimsical award is unique among cartoondom’s awards, and we couldn’t think of anything more fitting to represent CAPS. Sergio has been a leader in his field for many years. We trust that the few who will receive this award over the years will be honored to be the recipient of something that represents not only our club, but the honor, integrity, professionalism, and pure joy for cartooning that Sergio himself represents.

Thank you, Sergio.