April 16th, 2016
by Brian Walker, Greg Walker and Chance Browne
Beetle Bailey, which began on September 4, 1950, is the strip that Mort Walker is most often associated with. Hi and Lois started four years later on October 18, 1954. Not many readers are aware that there is an important connection between the two strips. Lois Flagston is Beetle Bailey’s sister.
On a few occasions, Mort has made references to his first creation in the panels of Hi and Lois. Above and below are some examples.
Sam’s Strip, a short-lived feature that was created by Mort Walker and Jerry Dumas in 1961 explored this type of inside humor in depth. In this innovative daily strip, they played with the basic elements of the cartoon form, experimented with different art styles and featured guest appearances by famous characters from other strips. Cartoon scholars call this type of self-referential surrealism, “metacomics.”
In 2008, Fantagraphics Books published the complete 20-month run of Sam’s Strip. This collection is now out of print, but copies can still be obtained inexpensively from used book dealers at Amazon and other sites.
– Brian Walker
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