Milton Caniff was one of the best-known cartoonists in America for much of the twentieth century.
Caniff was born on February 28, 1907, in Hillsboro, Ohio. He graduated from The Ohio State University in 1930. Two years later, Caniff began to work as a comic strip artist in New York City. The Associated Press Syndicate hired him in 1932 to draw a comic strip called "The Gay Thirties." He followed this strip with "Dickie Dare."
In 1934, the New York Daily News hired Caniff away from the Associated Press. Caniff created a new strip called "Terry and the Pirates" for this newspaper. It became an instant success and made Caniff one of the most popular comic strip artists in the United States. Millions of Americans read the daily strip. Caniff continued to draw this comic until 1946, when the series was ended because of a contract dispute.
During World War II, Caniff contributed his talents to the United States' war effort. He drew "Male Call" for the men serving in the armed forces. This strip featured soldiers and their escapades with a variety of women. Caniff continued this strip until 1946.
In 1946, Caniff agreed to draw a new comic for the Field Enterprises Syndicate. He drew "Steve Canyon" for the next forty-two years. Although it was a very popular comic, "Steve Canyon" never attained the level of success that Caniff's "Terry and the Pirates" had reached during the 1930s and 1940s.
Caniff died on May 3, 1988. The Reuben Award is given annually to the best comic strip artist. Caniff was presented with it on two occasions - once for his work on "Terry and the Pirates" and once for "Steve Canyon." He also served as president of the National Cartoonist's Society from 1948 to 1949. A number of cartoonists have credited Caniff with inspiring them. His friends and colleagues often referred to him as the "Rembrandt of Comics."