Mort Walker

Mort Walker

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Addison Morton Walker popularly known as Mort Walker, is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 comic artist best known for creating the newspaper comic strips Beetle Bailey
Beetle Bailey
Beetle Bailey is an American comic strip set in a fictional United States Army military post, created by cartoonist Mort Walker. It is among the oldest comic strips still being produced by the original creator...

in 1950 and Hi and Lois
Hi and Lois
Hi and Lois is a comic strip about a suburban family. Created by Mort Walker and illustrated by Dik Browne, it debuted on October 18, 1954, distributed by King Features Syndicate.-Characters:...

in 1954. He has signed Addison to some of his strips.

Born in El Dorado, Kansas
El Dorado, Kansas
El Dorado is a city situated along the Walnut River in the central part of Butler County, located in south-central Kansas, in the Central United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 13,021. It is the county seat and most populous city of Butler County...

, he grew up in Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

. He had his first comic published at age 11, and sold his first cartoon at 12. At 15, he worked as a comic-strip artist for a daily newspaper, and by 18 became chief editorial designer at Hall Brothers
Hallmark Cards
Hallmark Cards is a privately owned American company based in Kansas City, Missouri. Founded in 1910 by Joyce C. Hall, Hallmark is the largest manufacturer of greeting cards in the United States. In 1985, the company was awarded the National Medal of Arts....

. Graduating from Northeast High School
Northeast High School (Missouri)
Northeast High School is a comprehensive high school located at 415 Van Brunt Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri. It is part of the Kansas City, Missouri School District. Northeast High School is located next to Northeast Middle School.-References:* *...

, he attended the University of Missouri
University of Missouri
The University of Missouri System is a state university system providing centralized administration for four universities, a health care system, an extension program, five research and technology parks, and a publishing press. More than 64,000 students are currently enrolled at its four campuses...

, where today a life-sized bronze statue of Beetle Bailey
Beetle Bailey
Beetle Bailey is an American comic strip set in a fictional United States Army military post, created by cartoonist Mort Walker. It is among the oldest comic strips still being produced by the original creator...

stands in front of the alumni center.

In 1943, Walker was drafted into the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 and served in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. He was discharged as a first lieutenant
First Lieutenant
First lieutenant is a military rank and, in some forces, an appointment.The rank of lieutenant has different meanings in different military formations , but the majority of cases it is common for it to be sub-divided into a senior and junior rank...

 in 1947. He graduated from the University of Missouri in 1948, having been president of the local Kappa Sigma
Kappa Sigma
Kappa Sigma , commonly nicknamed Kappa Sig, is an international fraternity with currently 282 active chapters and colonies in North America. Kappa Sigma has initiated more than 240,000 men on college campuses throughout the United States and Canada. Today, the Fraternity has over 175,000 living...

 chapter. He then went to New York to pursue a career in cartooning. His first 200 cartoons were rejected, but he slowly gained recognition for his talent. His break came with Beetle Bailey
Beetle Bailey
Beetle Bailey is an American comic strip set in a fictional United States Army military post, created by cartoonist Mort Walker. It is among the oldest comic strips still being produced by the original creator...

, followed by Hi and Lois
Hi and Lois
Hi and Lois is a comic strip about a suburban family. Created by Mort Walker and illustrated by Dik Browne, it debuted on October 18, 1954, distributed by King Features Syndicate.-Characters:...

. Other comic strips he created include Boner's Ark
Boner's Ark
Boner's Ark was an American comic strip created by Mort Walker, also the creator of Beetle Bailey. Walker debuted the strip under the pseudonym "Addison" on March 11, 1968. The title is a reference to Noah's Ark of Abrahamic religions....

, Gamin & Patches, Mrs. Fitz's Flats, The Evermores, Sam's Strip and Sam and Silo
Sam and Silo
Sam and Silo is a comic strip created by Mort Walker and Jerry Dumas. The series first ran as Sam's Strip from 1961 to 1963 and was resurrected as Sam and Silo in 1977...

(the last two with Jerry Dumas
Jerry Dumas
Jerry Dumas is an American cartoonist, best known for his Sam and Silo comic strip. Dumas is also a writer and essayist, and a columnist for the Greenwich Time.-Biography:...

).

After more than 50 years in the business, Walker still supervises the daily work at his studio, which employs six of his children. He is one of the longest-drawing cartoonists in history.

Awards


In 1974, he founded the National Cartoon Museum
National Cartoon Museum
The National Cartoon Museum was an American museum dedicated to the collection, preservation and exhibition of cartoons, comic strips and animation. It was the brainchild of Mort Walker, creator of Beetle Bailey. It opened in 1974, went through several name changes and relocations, finally closing...

, and in 1989 was inducted into its Museum of Cartoon Art Hall of Fame. He received the Reuben Award of 1953 for Beetle Bailey, 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...

's 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. In 1978, Walker received the American Legion's Fourth Estate Award, and in 2000, he was given the Decoration for Distinguished Civilian Service by the United States Army. Walker was also given the best wardrobe in the category of shoes by the American Dress and Clothing Association.

In his book The Lexicon of Comicana
The Lexicon of Comicana
The Lexicon of Comicana is a book that was written in 1980 by American cartoonist Mort Walker. It was intended as a tongue-in-cheek look at the devices cartoonists utilize in their craft. In it, Walker invented an international set of symbols called Symbolia after researching cartoons around the...

(1980), written as a satirical look at the devices cartoonists use, Walker invented a vocabulary called Symbolia
The Lexicon of Comicana
The Lexicon of Comicana is a book that was written in 1980 by American cartoonist Mort Walker. It was intended as a tongue-in-cheek look at the devices cartoonists utilize in their craft. In it, Walker invented an international set of symbols called Symbolia after researching cartoons around the...

. 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
Profanity
Profanity is a show of disrespect, or a desecration or debasement of someone or something. Profanity can take the form of words, expressions, gestures, or other social behaviors that are socially constructed or interpreted as insulting, rude, vulgar, obscene, desecrating, or other forms.The...

, which appear in dialogue balloons in the place of actual dialogue, Walker called "grawlixes."

He recently created the free monthly newsletter The Best of Times. It incorporates various "helpful hints" articles along with an array of comics. While he is overseer of the project, he is assisted by his son, Neal Walker, who formats the newsletter.

External links