Addison Morton Walker (born September 3, 1923 in El Dorado, Kansas), more popularly known as Mort Walker, is an American comic artist, best known for creating the newspaper comic strips Beetle Bailey in 1950 and Hi and Lois in 1954.
Born in El Dorado, Kansas, he grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. He had his first comic published at the age of 11, and sold his first cartoon at 12.
In 1943 Cartoonist Walker was drafted into the United States Army where he spent time in Europe during World War II. He was discharged as a first lieutenant four years later. After military service and graduation from University of Missouri-Columbia in 1948, he went to New York to pursue his cartooning career. His first 200 cartoons were rejected, but he was slowly gaining recognition among the editors for his talent. His big break came with Beetle Bailey and another success followed with Hi and Lois. Other noteworthy cartoons he has created include Boner's Ark, Gamin & Patches, Mrs. Fitz's Flats, The Evermores, Sam's Strip and Sam & Silo (the last two with Jerry Dumas).
After more than 50 years in the business, Mort Walker still supervises the daily work at his studio, which also employs 6 of his children.
In 1974 he founded the Museum of Cartoon Art and in 1989 he was inducted into the Museum of Cartoon Art Hall of Fame. He received the Reuben Award of 1953 for Beetle Bailey, the National Cartoonist Society Humor Strip Award for 1966 and 1969, the Gold T-Square Award in 1999, the Elzie Segar Award for 1977 and 1999, and numerous other awards for his work and dedication to the art.
In his book The Lexicon of Comicana (1980), written as a satirical look at the devices cartoonists use in their craft, Walker invented a cartoon vocabulary called Symbolia. For example, Walker coined the term "squeans" to describe the starbusts and little circles that appear around a cartoon's head to indicate intoxication. The typographical symbols that stand for profanities, which appear in dialogue balloons in the place of actual dialogue, Walker called "grawlixes."
Beetle Bailey by Mort Walker
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
History and origins
In 1948 and 1949, Mort Walker submitted his comics to magazines. The editor of the SEP, John Bailey, suggested he draw some comics in a university setting, having seen some of Mort Walker's work during university. Walker did so, and Bailey suggested that he feature one character, who wore a hat down over his eyes. Walker named him Spider, after a fraternity brother.
Walker then decided to create a comic strip about university, putting all of his fraternity brothers from the University of Missouri–Columbia in it. Changing the name from Spider to Beetle, King Features Syndicate bought it; it was the last comic strip personally approved by William Randolph Hearst. Bailey was added as a family name in honor of John Bailey. Beetle Bailey first ran in twelve newspapers on September 4, 1950, the day after Mort Walker's birthday.
On March 13, 1951, during the Korean War, Walker had Beetle Bailey enlist in the Army.
Most of the humor revolves around the mostly inept characters stationed at CampSwampy, inspired by CampCrowder, where Walker had been stationed while in the Army. Private Bailey is a lazy sort and usually naps and avoids work, and thus is often the subject of verbal and physical chastising from his Sergeant.
Beetle's sister is Lois Flagston of the comic strip Hi and Lois, a spinoff which debuted in 1954.
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