Cover Story

Update: Join the club

Issue: "The Man Behind the Duck," July 26, 1997

Johnny Hart, the soul and heart of the cartoon strips B.C. and the Wizard of Id, is happy that Mallard Fillmore is on the job as a reporter. That way, Mr. Hart is not the only member of the Conservative Cartoonists Who Have Been Censored Club.

"I love Mallard. Bruce [Tinsley] is sensational," Mr. Hart told WORLD. "His perception of these things is unbelievable." The veteran cartoonist knows plenty about censorship. For years, the Los Angeles Times held to an annual rite of yanking Mr. Hart's Christmas and Easter cartoons with their Christ-centered messages.

Rick Newcombe, president of Creators Syndicate, which distributes Mr. Hart's work, complains about the dismissive attitude of many in the news media toward Christians. But this year, after Mr. Newcombe helped stir public awareness of the Times' cartoon-burning tradition, the paper didn't pull Mr. Hart's Easter strip.

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"My sense is they wanted to be responsive to their readers," Mr. Newcombe says. "I think they were surprised at the grassroots support for Johnny Hart."

The past year has been a good one for mail from those who like his Christian messages, Mr. Hart says. "I always get wonderful, lovely Christian people who cheer me when I do anything like that. I hear from clergy [who] use my material in sermons.... That really makes me feel fantastic; that's why I do it."

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