‘B.C.’ Cartoonist Johnny Hart Dead at 76

I meant to blog about this on Monday and got sidetracked. Cartoonist Johnny Hart, the creator of the hit cartoon B.C. and the Wizard of Id, died over the weekend.
Mr. Hart never seemed to have any problem introducing his Christian faith into his cartoons, something very much lacking in today’s entertainment industry. Christians have been practically forced to abandon their shows of faith in the public square.
The lost of Mr. Hart is a great loss to the Christian community.

Johnny Hart Tribute

Cartoon Original Link.

ALBANY, N.Y. — For millions of comic strip readers, the prehistoric era was a hoot: Cavemen played baseball, ants went to school, birds rode on the back of turtles and snakes made quips.

All of it was thanks to cartoonist Johnny Hart, who died Saturday at age 76 while working at his home in the nearby hamlet of Nineveh. “He had a stroke,” his wife, Bobby, said Sunday. “He died at his storyboard.”

Hart’s “B.C.” strip was launched in 1958 and eventually appeared in more than 1,300 newspapers with an audience of 100 million, according to Creators Syndicate Inc., which distributes it.

“He was generally regarded as one of the best cartoonists we’ve ever had,” Hart’s friend Mel Lazarus, creator of the “Momma” and “Miss Peach” comic strips, said from his California home. “He was totally original. ‘B.C’ broke ground and led the way for a number of imitators, none of which ever came close.”

Hart, who also co-created “The Wizard of Id,” won numerous awards for his work, including the National Cartoonist Society’s prestigious Reuben Award for Cartoonist of the Year and an award from the International Congress of Comics.

Richard Newcombe, founder and president of Creators Syndicate said “B.C.” and “Wizard of Id” would continue. Family members have been helping produce the strips for years, and they have an extensive computer archive of Hart’s drawings to work with, he said.

———-

Later in his career, some of Hart’s cartoons had religious themes, a reflection of his own Christian faith. That sometimes led to controversy.

A strip published on Easter in 2001 drew protests from Jewish groups and led several newspapers to drop the strip. The cartoon depicted a menorah transforming into a cross, with accompanying text quoting some of Jesus Christ’s dying words. Critics said it implied that Christianity supersedes Judaism.

Hart said he intended the strip as a tribute to both faiths. “He had such an emphasis on kindness, generosity, and patience,” Newcombe said.

“B.C.” was filled with puns and sly digs at modern society. One recent strip showed an ant teacher asking her class, “Who can tell me what secondhand smoke is?” One pupil raised his hand with an answer: “A political speech made by a vice presidential candidate.”

Original Link.

10 Responses to “‘B.C.’ Cartoonist Johnny Hart Dead at 76”

  1. Kull Says:

    He was a racist, bigoted, unpleasant and unwholesome person,

  2. Steve Says:

    Kull,
    Would you care to elaborate?

  3. Dr Judith Hirsch-Fikejs Says:

    I thought Johnny Hart was one of the most creative artists we have been privileged to read and enjoy over the years. He used his humor and artistic ability to uncover the craziness in the attitudes of people who tried so hard to be “cool” and yet remained archaic in their acceptance of others. He was also willing to find humor in the social biases in human society under the guise of the Wizard. Racist, bigoted, unpleasant and unwholesome? Not on your life. He, like all great artists, revealed the unwholesome, bigoted, racist and unpleasant attitudes still very alive and well in American society and international attitudes by in large.

  4. Steve Says:

    Dr. Hirsch-Fikejs,
    Thank you for your comments. Please visit us often.
    God Bless!!

  5. Colin Hammond Says:

    Kull….you sound like a rather small minded individual. Too bad for you. Johnny Hart was an incredible artist.

  6. Steve Says:

    Colin,
    You noticed Kull never responded to my request for more information.

  7. kyle Says:

    I have always enjoy BC comics and especially the ones recognizing God and Jesus. It will be good to meet him in heaven and be with God together, for those who are trusting in Jesus to rescue them (Savior) and let him be the manager of your life (Lord).

    Kyle

  8. Carl Says:

    I can remember when B.C. first came out. It was the new and crazy cartoon that everyone was talking about. There was always an underlying insight and intelligence in his work. Johnny evolved the cartoon over the years. I don’t think he was a religious man to start, but I think God got a hold of Johnny. There were some that were just plain so profound that I will never forget. An example is the one where he had stones of civilization balanced on a pivot shaped stone of truth, and when truth cracked, the stones fell and letters became destruction. When you bring in truth or God someone will always be offended, mostly those in rebellion. I was raised an atheists and remained until having the road to Damascus experience in 1989. Atheists are not offended by that which they do not believe. Are you violently opposed to the Easter Bunny? Many people are offended by the prophets, speaking truth. Those who have a complaint, let them give specific examples and why they were offended, not some vague statement. Many were offended by his “last 7 words of Jesus” Some felt he was attacking the Jews, and so many papers in America stopped publishing him. Many, including myself could see that a few were controlling what we read, so indicating we would not likely find truth there, so we stopped buying those papers.

  9. Alston Says:

    I think one instance that seriously sullies Johnny Hart’s legacy and might reflect on his character for many readers is the “SLAM” strip, that somewhat transparently (the strip really doesn’t make sense otherwise) juxtaposes a malodorous place of defecation and a religion. Imagine if a widely syndicated cartoonist expressed the same sentiment in regards to Christ! The other strip were the perplexing decision to make a theological point against judaism in an easter strip–as if he were in any serious dialogue with that faith.
    http://www.michaeldougan.com/blog/B1531149743/C844276496/E953161132/
    It doesn’t seem like the central issue is the expressions of one’s religious beliefs. Rather its Hart’s decision to assail other faiths in an inexplicable and, pardon the pun, two-dimensional manner.
    I hope we can understand why people might take genuinely offense (and I’m leaving aside the other comments he might have made–the man, after all, is only human)–it hardly makes them small-minded. In fact, it might be reflective of their generosity of heart.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Johhny Hart was one of the best in the cartoon / entertainment field … his wit and characters where simple to our advantage of understanding the humor of the ” now happenings ” in our daily living … maybe some people who tare christian ideas are living in their own little world and can express their freedom of speech with a tick feeling in their soul … I can picture as an artist also .. a weed growing out of the ground and becoming a person with out sense or reason until the weed dies and returns to the dirt it came from … reminds me of the sad remarks here by some one named .. and it rhymes with “hull” … Johnny Hart .. you were among the best of the best ! .. RIP .. God bless you and your family ! – dg

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