19 April 2007

RIP: Brant Parker

I noted the death of Johnny Hart - the creator of "B.C." and co-creator of "The Wizard of Id" - last week. This week, it's the turn of his partner, who drew the strip while Hart wrote the jokes.

ZUI this article from Canada.com:
Brant Parker, who for decades illustrated "The Wizard of Id" comic strip, has died just days after the passing of his collaborator on the comic.

Parker was 86. He died Sunday [15 April] at a nursing facility in Lynchburg [Virginia] from complications of Alzheimer's disease and a stroke he suffered last year, said Kathy Kei, an editor of "The Wizard of Id" at Creators Syndicate. Eight days earlier, the strip's writer, cartoonist Johnny Hart, died of a stroke at his storyboard, said his wife. He was 76.

The pair collaborated on the strip for more than 30 years, beginning in 1964, each winning the National Cartoonist Society's highest honour, the Reuben Award for Cartoonist of the Year.

In 1997, Parker handed the illustration of the cartoon over to his son, Jeff Parker, who continued working with Hart by fax.

Creators.com has this to say:
"Brant was a truly innovative mind in the comics world," said Creators Syndicate President Richard S. Newcombe. "The artistry he displayed in 'The Wizard of Id' was remarkable for its consistency and creativity. I join millions of 'Wizard' fans in giving thanks to Brant for being an inspiration to comic strip artists around the world for so many years."

Brant and his longtime friend and collaborator Johnny Hart started "The Wizard of Id" in 1964, and Brant won the National Cartoonists Society's (NCS) Best Humor Strip award a record five times, including back-to-back years in 1982-83. In 1984, he also won The Reuben Award, which is the NCS's highest honor.

And from the New York Times:
Brant Julius Parker was born in Los Angeles on Aug. 26, 1920. He attended the Otis Art Institute in the late 1930s, then worked at the Disney Studios until 1942, when he joined the Navy. After World War II, he returned to Disney, where he worked on Donald Duck cartoons and the half-hour animated film “Mickey and the Beanstalk.”

Mr. Parker married Mary Louise Sweet in 1947 and moved to Binghamton, N.Y., where he was a political cartoonist for The Binghamton Press.

In 1950, while judging a high school art contest, Mr. Parker met and befriended a contestant, Mr. Hart. Fifteen years later, Mr. Hart asked Mr. Parker to collaborate on “The Wizard.” They worked together until 1997, when Mr. Parker handed his pen to his son.

In addition to his wife and his son Jeff, Mr. Parker is survived by another son, James; three daughters, Julie Shackleton, Laurie Tannenbaum and Kathie Borkowski; a brother, John; 13 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

I don't think any of those articles mentions it, but Parker was also one of the co-creators of "Crock," the Beau Geste parody.

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