April 16th, 2016

Comic Strip Crossovers

by Brian Walker, Greg Walker and Chance Browne

Hi and Lois daily strip, October 13, 1960. Hi and Lois daily strip, October 13, 1960.

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.

Hi and Lois daily strip, November 10, 1967. Hi and Lois daily strip, November 10, 1967.

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.

Hi and Lois daily strip, August 2, 1975. Hi and Lois daily strip, August 2, 1975.

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.”

Sam's Strip daily strip, March 7, 1962. Sam’s Strip daily strip, March 7, 1962.

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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