Neal Walker is an American cartoonist, sculptor and animator from Greenwich, Connecticut, and the son of legendary cartoonist Mort Walker. Just like his brothers Brian and Greg, he has participated in the production of his father's signature comics 'Beetle Bailey' and 'Hi and Lois' at Comicana Inc. He was also the main artist of 'Betty Boop and Felix', an oddball comic strip created by four of the five Walker brothers (Greg, Brian, Morgan and Neal).

Neal Walker studied photography at Syracuse University. Not much is known about Neal Walker's precise contributions, but he has at least worked on 'Beetle Bailey' and 'Hi and Lois' from the 1980s onwards. According to a newspaper article in The Journal News of 26 August 1991, Neal was mostly involved in drawing 'Beetle Bailey' stories for the European market. This was mostly likely for the character's own Danish magazine Basserne, which was launched by Interpresse in 1972 and also appeared in other Scandinavian countries through Semic Press.


Two Betty Boop strips from The Waco Citizen of 26 February 1988

Together with his brothers Brian, Greg and Morgan, he wrote and drew the 'Betty Boop and Felix' strip from 1984 until 1988 under the collective signature "the Walker brothers". Neal was the main artist of the feature, with Greg Walker providing the inking duties. Based on an original idea by their father, the unusual newspaper comic starred both Max Fleischer's flapper girl Betty Boop and Pat Sullivan and Otto Messmer's 'Felix the Cat'. Walker came up with the idea after reading a book about the history of animation. He felt that Betty and Felix were such great graphic characters that they ought to be revived. The pair were also recast in different roles. Betty was now a housewife, while Felix became her pet. Much like Charles M. Schulz' 'Snoopy' and Jim Davis' 'Garfield', Felix never spoke, but just communicated his lines through thought balloons. 'Betty Boop and Felix' was in some ways comparable to 'Sam's Strip' by Mort Walker and Jerry Dumas, in the sense that occasionally other well known animated characters had a cameo, like Fleischer's Koko the Clown and Jay Ward's Bullwinkle J. Moose. Ironically enough the Walker brothers didn't encounter any copyright issues with these characters, but after a while King Features discovered that they didn't own the rights to Felix! From that moment on Felix was dropped from the series which became a vehicle for Betty alone.

In 1992 Neal and Mort Walker designed a bronze statue of America's laziest Army private, which is located at the University of Missouri campus. The sculpture was unveiled during the university's 1992 homecoming celebration. Neal Walker has served as editor and layout artist on book collections with his father's creations. Between 2006 and 2010 he edited and published his father's humorous monthly newsletter, The Best of Times, which was distributed freely throughout Connecticut and was also made available through the Internet.

Neal and Mort Walker with the clay model of Beetle Bailey.
Neal and Mort Walker with the clay model of Beetle Bailey

beetlebailey.com

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