Monday, November 05, 2018

Superstar Agenda Interview: Bunny Hoest

Above photo by Elena Mudd.

My friend Bunny Hoest, of the long-running Lockhorns comic strip, is interviewed about her cartooning life, as well as her personal philosophies by Kennedy Gachiri for Superstar Agenda magazine. It's a wonderful interview, full of insight about Bunny. She is the engine that drives The Lockhorns. She is also one of the best known people on the North Shore of Long Island. We call her the "Den Mother" of the Berndt Toast Gang. (Jeanne Schulz is the West Coast NCS Den Mother.)

"Bunny picks us up from the train station for the not-so-short drive to her home and creative space. 'A few years ago, I was much younger. I was 80,' she says. Bunny is now 85 years old. 'And I got a 10 year contract with a 10 year option to renew. So if I die, I might be in breach of the contract!' she says chuckling"

King Features' The Lockhorns has millions of readers. The daily panel was launched fifty years ago, on September 9, 1968. A Sunday strip was added four years later. Bill Hoest created it, and continued the feature for twenty years until his death in 1988. At that time, Bill Hoest had and astounding six syndicated strips.

"How has Bunny managed to keep it all together and produce cartoons at such a prolific rate throughout the roller coaster of life? Her co-creator, and fine artist, John Reiner has had a lot to do with it. 'All my husbands are dead. The first one I had divorced and then he died. So I felt really bad. I felt that maybe if I had taken care of him he wouldn’t have died,' Bunny says half in jest. 'But he died anyway… And then Bill got cancer when he was 50-something. That was really horrible. The whole cancer scene. After a good report we would be high. It was like a roller coaster. High as a kite. And then a bad blood test. And then a good blood test. It was exhausting. I felt terrible. I was beside myself. But then somebody said, ‘Are you gonna go on?’ We had six features going. …John [Reiner] was a mess when Bill died. [Bill] was like a father figure to him. He absolutely worshiped Bill. And I said, ‘John, through the tears can you still draw?’ So the two of us thought that we’d just give it a shot. We’d try. And we did very well. John kept up his end and we were able to go on and never missed a day. And that’s the thing about personal days. I went from death to divorce to disaster and I never missed a deadline because if you have a job you have to do it. There’s a personal responsibility. Nobody out there reading…my 100 million people. They don’t care about my life. They don’t care if I’m having a bad day. And they shouldn’t. It’s not their problem. …John was great. He really was a great supporter. He never missed a day.'"
 Go read the whole interview!

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