Walker, Mort

Addison Morton Walker (born September 3, 1923), 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, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, he had his first comic published at the age of 11, and by 12 he sold his first cartoon. At 15 he worked as a comic-strip artist for a daily newspaper and by 18 he became chief editorial designer at Hall Bros. After graduating from Northeast Senior High School in the Kansas City Missouri School District, he attended the University of Missouri - Columbia, where a life size bronze statue of Beetle Bailey sits in front of the alumni center. In 1943 he 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 200 first 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, 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."Comicart.dk will soon be able to present a selection of art by Mort Walker.