Vale Mort Walker: 1923 - 2018
About ten years ago, or more now, I won a charity on-line auction that consisted of sketches, signatures and a few strips from American cartoonists, such as Jim Davis, Hank Ketcham and a lot that, frankly, I'd never heard of. Most I wasn't interested in, but this one was the reason I bid - a Beetle Bailey head sketch by Mort Walker.
Even here, in Australia, I'd not only heard of, but routinely read Beetle Bailey, in paperback form mind you as it wasn't in any newspaper in Adelaide, and could appreciate the humour that Walker brought to the strip, even if it was quintessentially American. Perfectly executed slapstick humour works, no matter it's origin, or what language it might be. It's why some silent comedies are still so effective in obtaining laughs today, at times over 100 years since they first were made.
Mort has now passed, aged 94. He sold his first cartoon, professionally, when he was 14 years old and was working until the end. That's an 80 year cartooning career. That's an amazing run that will more than likely never be equalled, let alone surpassed.
Beetle Bailey will, of course, live forever.
And of course I still have it - wouldn't you? Hell, it's Mort and Beetle Bailey!