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Last week, at the National Cartoonists Society’s annual convention (weekend of drinking and goofing off), I met Johnny Hart’s grandson, Mason, who now works on B.C. since his grandfather’s passing in 2007. He’s a great kid (I call anyone under 30 a “kid” now) and I wish him lots of success.
He’s got big shoes to fill as Johnny was one of the best and most consistent gag writers in the business, as well as being a terrific artist. According to those of my colleagues who “knew him when,” he was also quite the party animal and tons of fun to hang out with. By the time I met him he had already undergone his infamous conversion to Christian fundamentalism and was pretty quiet and unassuming. Maybe the booze gave him his personality, I didn’t know him well enough to say. I’m sure he was still a great guy, just not a party animal. Still, one can’t resist being amused by the irony of a cartoon called, in effect, “Before Christ,” having so many strips each year dedicated to Christian biblical messages. In spite of this and his controversial political opinions, he was and still is revered as one of the greats of newspaper cartooning.
I never met the guy who created Fred Flintstone, but I hear he is now in Geico commercials.