Lynda Barry wins 2019 NCS Reuben Award for Cartoonist of The Year

September 12, 2020

Congratulations to Lynda Barry, the recipient of the 2019 NCS Cartoonist Of The Year at the 74th Annual NCS Reuben Awards!

Lynda Barry wins 2019 NCS Reuben Award for Cartoonist of The Year | National Cartoonists Society


Sept. 12, 2020


The recipient of the cartooning profession’s highest honor, the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year is chosen by a secret ballot of the members of the National Cartoonists Society. The NCS is pleased to announce this year’s winner is celebrated cartoonist, author, and teacher, Lynda Barry.

The coveted award was presented to Ms Barry online Saturday evening, September 12th at the finale of NCSFEST 2020, the virtual cartooning festival hosted by the National Cartoonists Society and the NCS Foundation. In graciously accepting the award, Barry said, “One of the things that’s so beautiful about comics is that whatever may be missing from your world, you might be able to find it in comics.” And in thanking her students, she remarked, “The other beautiful thing about comics is they’re really opening up to other people and other worlds that people bring with them.” Barry also cited The Family Circus creator Bil Keane as a direct influence on her as a cartoonist and as a human being because, as she put it, “the world of The Family Circus loved me and welcomed me, and there was something about love in that comic that really stuck with me.”

Barry is best known for her comic strip Ernie Pook’s Comeek, as well as several graphic novels such as The Good Times are Killing Me, Cruddy, and One! Hundred! Demons!

In 2016, Barry was inducted into the Eisner Awards Hall of Fame. She was honored in 2017 at the 71st annual Reuben Awards in Portland, Oregon where she received the National Cartoonists Society’s Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award, a prestigious honor that requires a unanimous vote from the Society’s Board of Directors. The Simpsons creator and Barry’s longtime friend Matt Groening presented her with the award.
She was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship as part of the Class of 2019 and is currently an Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Creativity at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
This year her work was also included in the exhibit Women in Comics: Looking Forward, Looking Back at the Society of Illustrators in New York City.

NCS President Jason Chatfield commented, “We’re so thrilled to be able to honor Lynda and her work in this way. She is a treasure, and we’re lucky to be able to enjoy her wit, wisdom and artistic talent. She is a great light in dark times.”

The NCS 74th Annual Divisional Reuben Award-winners were also announced during NCSFEST between sessions throughout the day. These awards are chosen by specially-convened juries comprised of NCS members and industry professionals.

You can watch Lynda’s Acceptance Speech in full here:

The Divisional Reuben Award-winners are as follows:

Comic Book
Stan Sakai – “Usagi Yojimbo”

Graphic Novel
Harmony Becker – “They Called Us Enemy”

Book Illustration
Stacy Curtis – “Karate Kakapo”

Magazine/NEWSPAPER Illustration
Tom Richmond

Luke McGarry

Alec Longstreth – “Isle of Elsi”

Jim Benton

Scott Nickel

“Missing Link” – Nelson Lowry, Santiago Montiel and Trevor Dalmer, production designers

“Primal” – Genndy Tartakovsky, creator, writer, director

“Pinocchio – A Modern Retelling” – Joe Bluhm, storyboard, concept design, art direction character design, director

Brian Crane – “Pickles”

Newspaper Panel
Dave Blazek – “Loose Parts”

Pat Bagley

Amy Hwang

Joe Wos – “Mazetoons”


About the Reuben Award:

The Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year is chosen by a secret ballot of the members of the National Cartoonists Society. The Reuben Award is the highest honor that the profession bestows. In the early days of the NCS, the award was 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. As with all the NCS awards, the winner need not be a member of the Society.
About the NCS:
The National Cartoonists Society is the world’s largest and most prestigious organization of professional cartoonists. It had its beginnings during World War II when groups of U.S. cartoonists got together to entertain the troops. They found that they enjoyed each other’s company and after the war decided to get together on a regular basis. Thus, in 1946, the NCS was born.
Today, the NCS membership roster includes over 500 of the world’s major cartoonists, working in many branches of the profession, including comic books, editorial cartoons, animation, webcomics and other online platforms, newspaper comic strips and panels, gag cartoons, greeting cards, advertising, magazine and book illustration and more.
Membership is limited to established professional cartoonists, with a few exceptions of outstanding persons in affiliated fields. The NCS is not a guild or union, although we have joined forces from time to time to fight for member’s rights, and we regularly use our talents to help worthwhile causes.


Lynda Barry wins 2019 NCS Reuben Award for Cartoonist of The Year | National Cartoonists Society

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