75 Years Ago – Caniff Wins First “Reuben” Award

In May 1947 Milton Caniff was voted “Outstanding Cartoonist of 1946.”

Seventy-five years ago Milton Caniff, creator of the Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon comic strips received the first Billy DeBeck Memorial Award, or The Barney, as the highest honor from the newly established National Cartoonists Society (NCS).

Yes, The Reuben Award began as “The Barney.”

The NCS explains:

The Reuben Award is the highest honor that the profession bestows. The award was previously called the Billy DeBeck Memorial Award, and the recipient received an engraved silver cigarette box.

The Reuben was introduced in 1954 and is named after longtime Honorary President Rube Goldberg. The statue is based on one of Goldberg’s irreverent pieces of sculpture. The eight winners who had received the “Barney,” as the Billy DeBeck Award was dubbed, subsequently received Reuben statuettes and are termed Reuben winners in the Society’s annals.