BB: The King is gone, long live the King


We cartoonists are very lucky in that we get to do something that we genuinely love. Many late nights, bending over the drawing board, we sometimes wonder if it’s worth it. Is this little piece of board (or, these days, a computer screen and electronic file), ever going to be seen, read and appreciated by anyone? We scribble our lines and just hope that it brightens someone’s day.

Early Disappointment

While Mort Walker was still enrolled at the University of Missouri, he submitted his first strips to the syndicates. In 1947, he went to New York with two ideas he had worked up with his old high school buddy, Dave Hornaday. Bo Wander was a semi-illustrative story strip about a writer. The text was written in the style of a novel and appeared beneath illustrations of the character’s adventures. They thought it would definitely sell.


After Mort Walker served in the Army during World War II, he enrolled at the University of Missouri and became editor of the campus magazine. In his 1975 autobiography, Backstage at the Strips, Mort recounted his days working on the Missouri Showme.

“The magazine was quite an experience, a better ‘school’ than the school itself. I wrote many of the articles, drew cartoons and illustrations, did layouts, proofread, set type by hand, sold ads, worked directly with the printer, did four-color hand separations for the covers, sold the magazine on the street corners of the campus, and took the unsold copies to the used-paper dump for sale.”