Today’s Guest: Brian Walker, daily comics writer, “Beetle Bailey,” “Hi & Lois,” comics historian, The Comics
Mr. Media is recorded live before a studio audience of small-bodied talking animals with giant heads and more wisecracks than Don Rickles… in the new new media capitol of the world… St. Petersburg, Florida!
Comics are Brian Walker’s life.
It’s the family business, after all: his dad, Mort, created or co-created “Beetle Bailey,” “Hi & Lois,” and the legendary but short-lived strip and strips, “Sam’s Strip.” Brian and his brother Greg have written and inked “Beetle Bailey” and “Hi & Lois” alongside their dad now for years. (Another second generation comics creator, Chance Browne – son of “Hi & Lois” co-creator and “Hagar the Horrible” creator Dik Browne – draws “Hi & Lois.”)
But starting back in college in the early 1970s, Brian carved out a corner of the industry for himself. It started when he profiled fledgling “Doonesbury” cartoonist Garry Trudeau in 1973 for Greg’s alt-weekly newspaper, The Silver Lining.
BRIAN WALKER podcast excerpt: “The New Traditionalists: ‘Zits,’ ‘Baby Blues’ and ‘Mutts’ were not revolutionary in any particular way, but they took all the best qualities of all the great strips.”
In the years that followed, Greg followed a dual path, writing gags for his father’s strips but also helping Mort Walker and his fellow comic strip masters see their dream come true: He is a founder and former director of the International Museum of Cartoon Art, where he worked from 1974 to 1992.
More recently, Brian has turned his attention to preserving and sharing comic strip history. His latest book, The Comics, puts together in one massive, exquisite volume what had previously been two pieces. It is an awesome collection of wonderful strips to the beginning of the medium and all the way to the present day, a must-have collectible for any comics fan.
And a few months ago he published another marvelous book, Doonesbury and The Art of G.B. Trudeau. Reading through it, I fell in love with the work of Jane Pauley’s husband all over again.
Brian Walker Hi and Lois website