More Magic with the Next Generation of ‘Wizard of Id’ Cartoonists
The Parker and Hart families have collaborated for over 52 years, charming audiences with the “Wizard of Id” comic strip. In December 2015, a third generation took over production of the strip. Hart’s grandson Mason Mastroianni (the “B.C.” cartoonist since 2007) is now illustrating the strip, following in the footsteps of Jeff Parker and Jeff’s wife, Nicola, who had picked up this role upon the retirement of Brant Parker, Jeff’s father. The writing duties will continue with Hart’s grandson Mick Mastroianni, who has been writing “Wizard of Id” since 2007.
The magic all began with cartoonists Brant Parker and Johnny Hart, who launched the comic strip in 1964. “Wizard of Id” has an unusual history of mentorship and collaboration between the Parkers and the Harts. Brant was initially a mentor to Johnny, who was still in high school when Parker first met him while judging an art contest. Years later, their combined talents brought to life Johnny’s vision of a kingdom of medieval characters, which became an integral part of the funny papers for decades, continuing to this day.
Johnny Hart and Brant Parker passed away within a week of each other in April 2007. At that time, Mason became the “B.C.” cartoonist and Mick the head writer of “Wizard of Id.” “Jeff and Nicola were a big help to me as I honed my writing chops,” says Mick. “As I got to know the characters, I became more confident and started to really have fun. We developed a great system of bridging our physical distance.” (Mick lives in upstate New York, and the Parkers are in Virginia.) “I will recall with fondness those creative fax machine work sessions with Jeff and Nicola!”
“Nicola and I are grateful to my father, Brant Parker, and to Johnny Hart,” says Jeff Parker. “We were lucky to be a bridge between those two great cartoonists and the next generation producing ‘Wizard of Id.’ We believe the true stars are the characters that fans have come to love. Many thanks to our friends the Wizard, the King, Rodney, Bung and the fans who have joined us in the quirky kingdom of Id.”
Nicola and Jeff Parker continue to autograph ‘Wizard’ art for fans and for charitable events. They keep in touch with their fellow cartoon lovers through their website, http://www.parkercartoons.com, where information about their new books, “Duke & Pitzi” and “U-Turns”, the classic strip “Goosemyer” and other projects can be found.
The site is home to a full biography of Brant Parker’s 60 years of cartooning, with samples of his other strips, “Crock” and “Goosemyer,” as well as vintage panel cartoons from The Saturday Evening Post and previously unreleased sketches.
“Continuing a legacy of silliness is serious business,” said Jeff Parker when asked about the transition. “It’s about the ‘Wizard of Id’ characters, the fans and seeing the humor in life. It’s an exciting time to be in the cartoon business. We look forward to launching new projects, knowing that the kingdom of Id is in good hands with the Hart family.”
“It’s a humble privilege to be given the opportunity to carry the torch for another one of my childhood favorites and to again follow in the footsteps of comic royalty,” says Mason Mastroianni. “I’ll strive to honor the consistent quality that Brant and, later, Jeff and Nicola have brought to ‘Wizard of Id.’”
Mason and Mick Mastroianni: Creating New “Wiz” Magic