Billy DeBeck

Born William Morgan DeBeck, this cartoonist is nothing less than memorable due to his classic "big-foot" comic strips and characters, such as: Barney Google, Bunky, Snuffy Smith and the racehorse Spark Plug. He began his career drawing cartoons for the Chicago Daily News, and in 1910, he took a job as a staff artist with a local weekly theater publication, Show World. From 1912 to 1916 he was an illustrator and political cartoonist with the Youngstown Chronicle Telegraph and the Pittsburgh Gazette-Times.

Billy DeBeck's comic Barney Google and Snuffy Smith has been declared "one of the longest-running comic strips in history." The popular comic is published in 11 different languages and reaches out to subscribers in 21 different countries. It is also because of this comics popularity around the world that the phrases "sweet mama," "heebie-jeebies," and "horsefeathers" have been included to the American vernacular, and that it has been honored on the U.S. postage stamp. The first awards of the National Cartoonists Society, beginning in 1946, were the Billy DeBeck Memorial Awards, aka the Barney Awards.


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