September 14, 2012 — In a Pulitzer Prize-fest, and one of the most exhilirating Literary Death Match events ever seen — plus, the debut of our all-cartoonists format at the Damn! Cartoons festival — it was the underdogs who stole the show, as The K Chronicles mastermind Keith Knight narrowly outdrew Slowpoke Comics creator Jen Sorensen in a sudden death masterpiece of a Draw Off, that won Knight the Literary Death Match DC crown!
But before the chisel-tipped Sharpies were handed out for a wicked finale, the night kicked off with Mike Peters (the mind behind Mother Goose & Grimm) eschewing cartoons to go full-on storyteller, doling out a tale about grabbing a sailor's package, only to discover he was grabbing the minister's man-region. Next up was Jen Sorensen who delighted with a bevy of sharp-minded cartoons, with The Rise and Fall of the Goatee being a particular favorite.
The mic was then handed over to the trio of all-star judges: two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gene Weingarten (the brain behind the weekly column Below the Beltway), Emmy award-winning artist Dean Haspiel (the mastermind behind the Bored to Death intro), and The Beat creator Heidi MacDonald (former editor for DC Comics' Vertigo imprint and editor of the 2006 The Hills Have Eyes: The Beginning). The three quipped with delightful aplomb, and after trading remarks, the trio decided — in a staggeringly close vote — that it would be Sorensen who would advance as the night's first finalist.
Then came Round 2 at George Washington University's Jack Morton Auditorium, with Keith Knight tickling the crowd with his relentlessly wonderful cartoons, the highlight being a series about his enlisting a blow-up doll: not for sex, but to have someone white along with him, so he could get cabs. Five black men, he said, is a gang. Four black men and a white guy? That's a basketball team. Finally, it was Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonists Mark Fiore (who the Wall Street Journal has called “the undisputed guru of the form”), with a series of must-see video cartoons that ranged from mocking the Republican anti-healthcare ideology, to a Dogboy & Mr. Dan comic about gay marriage.
Again the mic went to the judges, with the trio once again lighting up the packed room with levity and misdirection, and after a second impossible decision was to be made, they decided it was Knight who was named the night's second finalist.
Then came a Draw the Judges finale, introduced by LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga, who tasked each finalist with drawing each of the three judges — Weingarten in 20 seconds, Macdonald in 15, and Haspiel in 30 — while wearing blindfolds. The results were plain masterful, with Macdonald winning the first round, but Knight storming back to win Rounds 2 and 3 to win the Literary Death Match DC, Ep. 4 crown, and winning literary and cartoon immortality to go with it.