We were saddened today to read of the passing this weekend of Mort Walker, the creator of Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois, among other comic strips.
You can’t really say Mort Walker got his start at The Saturday Evening Post. After all, by the time he submitted his first cartoon to the Post, he had already sold cartoons to multiple magazines (his first at age 12), worked at Hallmark as chief editorial designer, and served as an intelligence officer in the Army during World War II.
But the progenitor of Beetle Bailey did made his first appearance in the Post. An editor here—John Bailey—encouraged Walker to create the lazy college student “Spider,” who eventually morphed into Beetle Bailey. The cartoon was eventually syndicated to 1,800 newspapers in more than 50 countries.
We are honored to have been even a small part of Mort Walker’s long and funny career.
What’s the secret to being a successful comic strip artist? “It takes the right combination of being kind of smart without being too well educated,” said Charles Schulz in 1957. Many of the legendary comic strip artists got their start in the pages of The Saturday Evening Post. Here’s a sampling from our archive:
Beetle Bailey creator Mort Walker, The Saturday Evening Post, November 27, 1948
Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, The Saturday Evening Post, January 1, 1949
Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, The Saturday Evening Post, May 21, 1949
Rivets and Hit or Miss creator George Sixta, The Saturday Evening Post, May 21, 1949
Beetle Bailey creator Mort Walker, The Saturday Evening Post, June 17, 1950
B.C. and Wizard of Id creator Johnny Hart, The Saturday Evening Post, June 12, 1954
The Family Circus creator Bil Keane, The Saturday Evening Post, July 4, 1959
The Family Circus creator Bil Keane, The Saturday Evening Post, July 25, 1959
The Family Circus creator Bil Keane, The Saturday Evening Post, August 8, 1959
Recognize the style of this last cartoonist? It’s from Mort Walker of “Hi and Lois” and “Beetle Bailey” fame! More Mort Walker cartoons coming soon.