Cartoonist and Gloucester native Mark Parisi may have won a prestigious national award, but it may not bring him more fame or fortune.
"Winning the National Cartoonists Society's award for Best Newspaper Panel isn't going to get me a million dollars unless you want to buy the plaque from me," Parisi.
Parisi won the Reuben Division Award for Newspaper Panel for his comic "Off the Mark" at the 66th annual meeting of the National Cartoonists Society, held in Las Vegas.
This is Parisi's fourth nomination (2004, 2006, 2009, and 2012) and second win (2009 and 2012).
Parisi, who creates his cartoons from his Melrose home office — and whose "Off the Mark" appears regularly on the comics page of the Gloucester Daily Times — said he is humbled by the recognition he has received from his peers.
"It's a great honor to be recognized by my peers," he said. "Now I feel I have to earn it."
Parisi is a native of Gloucester, and a number of his family members — including parents Fran and Nick Parisi — still live in the city. He often returns for St. Peter's Fiesta and around Christmastime to participate in either the Ladies' or Men's Night shopping events on Main Street.
Parisi said he has come up with his cartoons for the past 25 years by "just thinking about things."
"The most challenging part is the ideas," he said, "so these days I go to a cafe one day a week to simply write ideas. It keeps me away from the distractions of home, like the computer, the phone, dirty dishes, needy pets and ... did I mention the computer?"
In addition to the Times, the Salem Evening News and the Eagle Tribune of North Andover are also among area papers that carry Parisi's cartoons. "Off the Mark," distributed by Universal Press Syndicate, also appears on greeting cards, calendars and other licensed products. The website, offthemark.com, draws over half a million unique visitors a month.
Parisi also works on occasional side projects.
One of his childhood influences was a product called "Wacky Packages," which consisted of product parody stickers. Now, he said, he is now lucky enough to be one of the designers for the modern sets of "Wacky Packages" for Topps.