The usual: Vic’s Ristorante Italiano

Rich Powell, foreground, draws a quick sketch of former MAD Magazine editor, Nick Meglin, far right, as fellow cartoonists Jack Pittman, background left, and Dwane Powell wait for the results during a regular lunch gathering at Vic's Italian Restaurant in City Market.

Rich Powell, foreground, draws a quick sketch of former MAD Magazine editor, Nick Meglin, far right, as fellow cartoonists Jack Pittman, background left, and Dwane Powell wait for the results during a regular lunch gathering at Vic’s Italian Restaurant in City Market.

photograph by Travis Long

“Hi there! Who needs eyeballs, bleeding or otherwise?” Sculptor Joel Haas hollers and throws a bag of plastic painted eyeballs at the table of cartoonists.

“We usually talk about Dwane’s bad table manners,” says Nick Meglin, ringleader of a group of cartoonists who have been meeting for lunch once a month for the last decade or so at Vic’s Ristorante Italiano in City Market. Meglin is the former editor of Mad magazine; Dwane Powell is an editorial cartoonist for The News & Observer. Their compadres comprise a Who’s-Who of the local cartoon scene: illustrator Jack Pittman and his illustrator son Jay; comic illustrator David Trustman and his colleague Sarah Moseley; producer Curry Leslie; stand-up comic and former Emmy-winning TV writer John Boni; and cartoonists Rich Powell, Carol McMillian Lewis, and Martha Gradisher. The group, which shares war stories, works in progress, and a relentless sense of humor, first met at “cell block 46,” Meglin says, and though they don’t eat the same thing every month, “we usually wear the same clothes.”

Vic’s Ristorante Italiano: City Market, 331 Blake St. 919-829-7090.