NCSFest is the brainchild of Steve McGarry, the syndicated cartoonist and story artist who serves as President of the NCS Foundation, the charitable and educational arm of the National Cartoonists Society. To help fulfill his vision of putting the NCS at the heart of a free cartoon arts festival to rival the great European events, he enlisted the aid of Julie Tait, Director of the fastest-growing festival in the UK, the Lakes International Comic Arts Festival. With the aid of an incredibly strong team and an army of volunteers – as well as the expertise of Mathieu Diez, the Director of French festival Lyon BD – and the full support of the city of Huntington Beach, NCSFest was born in 2019.
Formed in 1947, the National Cartoonists Society is regarded as the most prestigious organisation of professional cartoonists in the world, with such legends as Peanuts creator Charles M Schulz, Walt Disney, Rube Goldberg and Milton Caniff among its alumni. Today’s membership numbers more than 400 eminent cartoonists and many of these world famous creators are appearing at NCSFest. The NCS will also stage its annual Reuben Awards – the comics and cartoons equivalent of the Oscars – during the Festival.