Bill Hoest

Bill Hoest

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Bill Hoest was an American cartoonist best known as the creator of the gag panel series, The Lockhorns
The Lockhorns
The Lockhorns is a United States single-panel cartoon created in 1968 by Bill Hoest and distributed by King Features Syndicate to 500 newspapers in 23 countries. It is continued today by Bunny Hoest and John Reiner.-Characters and story:...

, distributed by King Features Syndicate
King Features Syndicate
King Features Syndicate, a print syndication company owned by The Hearst Corporation, distributes about 150 comic strips, newspaper columns, editorial cartoons, puzzles and games to nearly 5000 newspapers worldwide...

 to 500 newspapers in 23 countries, and Laugh Parade
Laugh Parade
Laugh Parade was a group of weekly gag cartoons written by Bunny Hoest and drawn by John Reiner. It ran in Parade, a Sunday newspaper magazine supplement....

for Parade
Parade (magazine)
Parade is an American nationwide Sunday newspaper magazine, distributed in more than 500 newspapers in the United States. It was founded in 1941 and is owned by Advance Publications. The most widely read magazine in the U.S., Parade has a circulation of 32.2 million and a readership of nearly 70...

. He also created other syndicated strips and panels for King Features.

Born in Newark, New Jersey
Newark, New Jersey
Newark is the largest city in the American state of New Jersey, and the seat of Essex County. As of the 2010 United States Census, Newark had a population of 277,140, maintaining its status as the largest municipality in New Jersey. It is the 68th largest city in the U.S...

, Hoest spent two years in the Navy and studied art at Cooper Union
Cooper Union
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, commonly referred to simply as Cooper Union, is a privately funded college in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, United States, located at Cooper Square and Astor Place...

. He started his art career in 1948 as a greeting card designer with Norcross Greeting Cards, continuing in that field until 1951 when he left to become a freelancer. His cartoons soon began appearing in Collier's
Collier's Weekly
Collier's Weekly was an American magazine founded by Peter Fenelon Collier and published from 1888 to 1957. With the passage of decades, the title was shortened to Collier's....

, Playboy
Playboy is an American men's magazine that features photographs of nude women as well as journalism and fiction. It was founded in Chicago in 1953 by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner's mother. The magazine has grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc., with...

, The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post is a bimonthly American magazine. It was published weekly under this title from 1897 until 1969, and quarterly and then bimonthly from 1971.-History:...

and other magazines.

Comic strips

Hoest entered the comic strip
Comic strip
A comic strip is a sequence of drawings arranged in interrelated panels to display brief humor or form a narrative, often serialized, with text in balloons and captions....

 community during the 1960s as an assistant on Harry Haenigsen's Penny
Penny (comic strip)
Penny was a comic strip about a teenage girl by Harry Haenigsen which maintained its popularity for almost three decades. It was distributed by the New York Herald Tribune Syndicate from 1943 to 1970....

. After an injury from a 1965 traffic accident kept Haenigsen away from the drawing board, Hoest took over most of the work, although Haenigsen still supervised and signed each Penny strip. In 1970, when Hoest left to start his own strip, My Son John, for the Chicago Tribune New York News Syndicate
Tribune Media Services
Tribune Media Services is a syndication company owned by the Tribune Company.The company has two divisions, "News and Features" and "Entertainment Products"...

, Haenigsen chose to end Penny and retired.

Hoest was one of the cartoonists featured in Think Small
Think Small
Think Small was an advertising campaign for the Volkswagen Beetle, created by Julian Koenig at the Doyle Dane Bernbach agency in the 1950s. It was ranked as the best advertising campaign of the twentieth century by Ad Age, in a survey of North American advertisements...

, a 1967 promotional book distributed as a giveaway by Volkswagen
Volkswagen is a German automobile manufacturer and is the original and biggest-selling marque of the Volkswagen Group, which now also owns the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, and Škoda marques and the truck manufacturer Scania.Volkswagen means "people's car" in German, where it is...

 dealers. Top cartoonists of that decade drew cartoons showing Volkswagens, and these were published along with amusing automotive essays by such humorists as H. Allen Smith
H. Allen Smith
For the congressman see H. Allen SmithHarry Allen Wolfgang Smith was an American journalist and humorist whose books were popular in the 1940s and 1950s, selling millions of copies....

, Roger Price
Roger Price (comedy)
Roger Price was an American humorist, author and publisher, who created Droodles in the 1950s, followed by his collaborations with Leonard Stern on the Mad Libs series...

 and Jean Shepherd
Jean Shepherd
Jean Parker Shepherd was an American raconteur, radio and TV personality, writer and actor who was often referred to by the nickname Shep....


While working on Penny, Hoest began his cartoons about a bickering couple, The Lockhorns, as a single-panel daily on September 9, 1968, with the Sunday feature launched April 9, 1972. He then took an alternate route with Bumper Snickers (1974), a cartoon series about cars and drivers for the National Enquirer
The National Enquirer
The National Enquirer is an American supermarket tabloid now published by American Media Inc . Founded in 1926, the tabloid has gone through a variety of changes over the years....

. His King Features comic strip
Comic strip
A comic strip is a sequence of drawings arranged in interrelated panels to display brief humor or form a narrative, often serialized, with text in balloons and captions....

, Agatha Crumm
Agatha Crumm
Agatha Crumm is a newspaper comic strip created by the cartoonist Bill Hoest and distributed by King Features Syndicate. Agatha Crumm was Hoest's third strip, following Bumper Snickers , and it continued until 1996....

, was published as both a daily
Daily strip
A daily strip is a newspaper comic strip format, appearing on weekdays, Monday through Saturday, as contrasted with a Sunday strip, which typically only appears on Sundays....

 and a Sunday strip
Sunday strip
A Sunday strip is a newspaper comic strip format, where comic strips are printed in the Sunday newspaper, usually in a special section called the Sunday comics, and virtually always in color. Some readers called these sections the Sunday funnies...

 from 1977 to 1996. What a Guy!
What a Guy!
What a Guy! is an American comic strip created by Bill Hoest and Bunny Hoest, the team responsible for The Lockhorns and Agatha Crumm. It began in March 1987, just over a year before Hoest's death in 1988....

, co-created with his assistant John Reiner
John Reiner
John Reiner is a cartoonist who collaborates with writer Bunny Hoest on three cartoon series: The Lockhorns, syndicated by King Features, and Laugh Parade and Howard Huge ....

, was syndicated by King Features from 1987 to 1996.

Laugh Parade

Hired as the cartoon editor of Parade in 1979, Hoest created Laugh Parade for that Sunday supplement magazine
Sunday magazine
A Sunday magazine is a publication inserted into a Sunday newspaper. It also has been known as a Sunday supplement, Sunday newspaper magazine or Sunday magazine section...

 in 1980. For Laugh Parade, he ganged together several miscellaneous cartoons, adding Howard Huge
Howard Huge
Howard Huge is a cartoon series written by Bunny Hoest and illustrated by John Reiner. Created by Bill Hoest, the series had 80 million readers, since it ran in the Sunday supplement magazine, Parade from 1980 to 2007, continuing on a website....

to that mix in 1981.

He was president of the National Cartoonists Society
National Cartoonists Society
The National Cartoonists Society is an organization of professional cartoonists in the United States. It presents the National Cartoonists Society Awards. The Society was born in 1946 when groups of cartoonists got together to entertain the troops...

 at the time of his death. Hoest, who lived in Lloyd Neck, Long Island
Lloyd Harbor, New York
Lloyd Harbor is a village in Suffolk County, New York on the North Shore of Long Island. As of the United States 2000 Census, the village population was 3,675.The Village of Lloyd Harbor is in the Town of Huntington.-History:...

, was 62 when he died of lymphoma at New York Medical Center. He was survived by his wife, Bunny Hoest
Bunny Hoest
Bunny Hoest , sometimes labeled The Cartoon Lady, is the writer of several cartoon series, including The Lockhorns, Laugh Parade and Howard Huge, all of which she inherited from her late husband Bill Hoest...

; his mother, Dorothea Whittinghill of Lloyd Neck; nine children and stepchildren.

Hoest was reportedly a diligent cartoonist, putting in ten hours a day at his drawing board. "It is a business, and I have to treat it like a business. I keep busy. That's the way I make my living". After Hoest's death, Reiner continued to illustrate all the features, while Hoest's widow, Bunny Hoest, took over the scripting. Reiner recalled:
Bill Hoest insisted on doing each of his comics meticulously. The artwork, writing, lettering and inking were all done in such a way as to meet his high self-imposed standards. I came to realize that his success, which so many cartoonists young and old tried to analyze, was the result of a simple rule: Learn to do each segment of a comic professionally. Bill Hoest could draw well, letter attractively and legibly, design in an eye-catching fashion, direct and control the action and expression of his characters, and write material that was genuinely funny. He then blended the elements to produce work that stood out on the comics page. I must now meet that same standard of excellence.


Bill Hoest received three National Cartoonists Society awards. The Lockhorns was named the best syndicated panel of 1976 and 1980 by the NCS, and he also won in the gag cartoon division in 1977.

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