Farewell, Johnny Hart

You might have seen that cartoonist Johnny Hart, who drew the "B.C." and "Wizard of Id" comic strips, passed away on Saturday at age 78. He had a stroke and died at his drawing board. It's the cartoonist's equivalent of dying with his boots on.

I don't read the comics every day, the way I used to when I was a kid. Maybe it's just that my view of the world has grown grimmer, although that might argue for reading the comics more, not less. My local paper didn't carry either of Hart's strips, although I read both of them growing up in St. Joseph, Mo., and Kansas City, and I usually found them to be humorous.

I have a lot of admiration for cartoonists, because they have a tough job: They have to be able to draw the same characters over and over, and they have to be able to come up with something clever for them to say every day. That's no small order. There are only so many jokes in the world. For someone to be able to do it day after day for almost fifty years like Hart did is really quite an accomplishment.

So farewell, Johnny Hart, and godspeed. Just as when Charles Schulz died a few years ago, Hart is irreplaceable. He was one of a kind, and the world will be a little less funny for his passing.