If you've dug into the world of political cartooning even a little, chances are you've heard of Herbert Lawrence Block, who signed all his cartoons under the name Herblock. Block worked as the cartoonist for the Washington Post for 55 years, during which he won four Pulitzer Prizes.

Block was easily one of the most influential cartoonists of the 20th Century (The Herblock Foundation even awards a Herblock Prize for excellence in editorial cartooning every year), and HBO is celebrating his legacy with a new documentary titled Herblock: The Black & The White, which premieres Monday, Jan. 27. Check out a trailer for the film after the jump.


Here's HBO's description of the movie:

This feature documentary traces the life, times and influence of Herbert Block, whose career as an editorial cartoonist spanned over 70 remarkable years. Block’s legacy is revealed through reflections from fellow journalists (from both print and television), backstories involving many of his iconic cartoons, and Block’s own words, as spoken through an actor portraying the artist in a recreated Washington Post office overflowing with sketch pads and pens.


Over his 55-year Post career, Block worked tirelessly to meet his self-imposed quota: one cartoon, five days a week. Unlike print journalists whose columns could be dismissed or ignored, Block’s cartoons were the focal point of the paper’s editorial section, and his images spoke to his readers in an immediate, visceral way. He could not be swayed by power or politics, refusing to back down to Sen. Eugene McCarthy, whom he depicted as a boozing bully, or Richard Nixon, whose connection to Watergate was presciently depicted in early cartoons (he shared a fourth Pulitzer with the Post for its work on Watergate). Even presidents he admired (Ike, LBJ, Carter, Clinton) weren’t spared when Herblock felt they failed to live up to their promises or the standards of the office. Above all, Block’s cartoons showed his affection and affinity for the common man, and helped shape public opinion about Civil Rights, nuclear weapons, poverty, education, cigarettes and gun control.

After the movie premieres on HBO, it will re-air several times through mid-February.

[Via The Daily Cartoonist]