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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.
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Showme

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.”
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Beetle in Bronze

“The University of Missouri, approached me to do a sculpture of Beetle Bailey for the campus, since I was a graduate,” Mort Walker explained in his autobiography.

“I had seen a sculpture by Gutzon Borglum (the Mount Rushmore creator) of Lincoln seated on a bench with space beside him. I had watched kids climb up to sit with Lincoln and get their pictures taken. So I adapted the idea and designed Beetle sitting in a booth at the Shack with room beside him.”
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