In Memoriam: Brant Parker

God, people will be thinking I’m an incredibly morbid kind of bloke, which isn’t the case at all, but there’s been another death in the comics community.

Just days after reporting the death of Italian artist Massimo Belardinelli (2000AD co-0creator Pat Mills has written a terrific tribute to him on the main dtb site) reflecting on the death of Johnny “BC” Hart comes news that Brant Parker, co-creator with Hart of “Wizard of Id” has also passed on.

The New York Times (registration required) reports Parker, who had been drawing the marvellous Id strip for some 40 years until his son Jeff T. Parker took over in 1997, died on Sunday at his home in Lynchburg, Virginia after complications caused Alzheimer’s disease. He was 86.

The Wizard of Id, set in a medieval world where all manner of barbs were hurled like arrows at our modern milieu, is one of my favourite all-time newspaper strips, which began in 1965 and now runs in some 1000 newspapers worldwide. Parker drew the award-winning strip with gags from Johnny Hart, the latter better known for the equally enjoyable B.C. strip, both distributed by the Creators Syndicate, until 1997.

Paying tribute to Parker, Creators Syndicate President Richard S. Newcombe says in a memoriam article on the Syndicate site: “Brant was a truly innovative mind in the comics world. 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.”

And so say of all of us.

Jeff T. Parker also paid tribute on the Syndicate site, revealing that, ever the teacher as well as a cartoonist, his father’s advice to him and to any aspiring cartoonist was, “Draw! Draw! Draw!”

“He was always studying and learning from other cartoonists, young and old,” Jeff continued. “He was a great observer of all that was absurd in the world (including himself).”

On Monday, Jeff posted a fitting tribute to his father with a cartoon on the Creators Syndicate web site showing the King and the Wizard peering at the stars through a telescope.

“Hey!” the Wizard says. “There’s cartoons up there!”

Brant Parker, born 26 August, 1920, Los Angles, died 15 April 2007 Lynchburg, Va. Survived by wife Mary Louise Sweet , his sons, Jeff, James; three daughters, Julie Shackleton, Laurie Tannenbaum and Kathie Borkowski; a brother, John; 13 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

Categories: Obituaries


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