Nipomo cartoonist's 'Rubes' will be displayed at N.Y. museum

Leigh Rubin, creator of the comic "Rubes," lives in Nipomo.
Leigh Rubin, creator of the comic "Rubes," lives in Nipomo. The Tribune

Nipomo cartoonist Leigh Rubin’s frequent nod to toys has earned him a spot in the National Museum of Play in Rochester, N.Y.

The museum, dedicated to toys and all things fun, will display around 80 panels from Rubin’s syndicated comic “Rubes,” which appears in The Tribune and about 400 other newspapers. Rubin will also make an appearance at this year’s National Toy Hall of Fame induction.

“Some people actually think what I do is play,” Rubin joked from the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis.

While his panels about cows have made him a popular attraction at the dairy expo, his panels about Mr. Potato Head, LEGOs, jack-in-the-boxes and other playthings appealed to the museum, where his play-related panels will be displayed from Oct. 12 to Jan. 5.

He was also tasked to reveal two new, original “Rubes” cartoons to honor the 2013 Toy Hall of Fame inductees. This year’s finalists include the Magic 8 Ball, Pac-Man, the Nerf ball, Clue and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

As a child, Rubin said, Robot Commando and the Daisy rifle were his favorite toys.

“When I was a kid, with Mr. Potato Head, you had to supply a potato,” he joked.

While Mr. Potato Head has entertained kids for generations, he said the best toy is a good imagination.

“Cardboard box is pretty high on the list, too,” he said.

The National Museum of Play has the world’s largest collection of dolls, toys and games, according to its website. Past Hall of Fame inductees include Silly Putty, the Big Wheel, Barbie and the Frisbee, co-invented by former Los Osos resident Fred Morrison.