MORT WALKER – A CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION
August 2 - September 30
“Old cartoonists never die. They just erase away…” It was one of Mort Walker’s favorite sayings, and until his final days, Walker lived by this motto, engaging millions through his beloved comics. At the age of 94, Walker died peacefully at home on January 27, 2018.
He produced Beetle Bailey for 67 years, 3 months and 12 days – that’s 24,576 strips, the longest tenure by any cartoonist on an original creation.
Dubbed “The Dean of American Cartooning,” Walker was one of the most prolific cartoonists in the comics business, with the creation of nine different syndicated strips during his lifetime, including Beetle Bailey, the third-most widely syndicated strip in the world.
He served as president of the National Cartoonists Society and the Newspaper Features Council and was the founder of the Museum of Cartoon Art. He won numerous awards and citations from cartoonist groups and government organizations. “I’m thankful for the good life cartooning has given me,” explained Mort, “and I try to give back to the profession and the public.”
Mort Walker’s creation remains one of the most popular features in newspapers today and is continued by his sons Greg, Brian and Neal. “Someone said a diamond is just a piece of coal that stuck with the job,” Mort mused. “To me the strip is a diamond. I never knew where that first step would take me and there were many rocky times, but a certain amount of fame and fortune were my reward for keeping at it.” It is ironic that Beetle Bailey, the laziest character in the history of comics, was created by Mort Walker, one of the hardest working and most prolific cartoonists of all time.
© 2023 by Brian Walker