Bill and Bunny’s Funnies: A Selection from the Hoest Collection
This exhibition offers selections from The Bill and Bunny Hoest Comic Art Collection (donated by Bunny Hoest ’53 in 2018).
Held by Adelphi Archives and Special Collections, the Hoest Collection consists of original comic art encompassing all of cartoonist and illustrator Bill Hoest’s syndicated comic strips, cartoons, and unpublished projects. The collection also includes correspondence, business records, promotional materials, ephemera, and other material related to the career of the creative team of Bill and Bunny Hoest.
Born in Newark, New Jersey, William (“Bill”) Hoest (1926-1988) was a prolific and award-winning cartoonist. Following high school and two years in the Navy, Hoest studied art at Cooper Union in New York City. In 1948, he took a job at Norcross Greeting Card company as a greeting card designer. He worked at Norcross until 1948 when he left to become a freelance artist. Soon Hoest’s work began to appear in Collier’s, Playboy, The Saturday Evening Post and other popular magazines.
In 1961 he began producing his own comic strip, My Son John, for the Chicago Tribune New York News Syndicate. When the run of My Son John ended in 1963, Hoest became an assistant on Harry Haenigsen’s comic strip Penny. After Haenigsen suffered a traffic accident injury which left him unable to draw the strip, Hoest took over most of the illustration work (though Haenigsen still supervised and signed each cartoon). In 1968, Hoest created a single-panel cartoon called The Lockhorns of Levittown, focused on Leroy and Loretta Lockhorn, a constantly bickering married couple from Long Island. The title was shortened to The Lockhorns in anticipation of national syndication. The Lockhorns went on to great success becoming distributed to 500 newspapers in 23 countries by King Features Syndicate.
In 1977, Hoest created his second syndicated comic strip, Agatha Crumm. In 1979, he was hired as the cartoon editor of the Sunday newspaper supplement magazine Parade, creating Laugh Parade in 1980 and Howard Huge in 1981 for the magazine. In 1986, he created What a Guy!, his third and final syndicated comic strip. Bill Hoest died on November 7, 1988.
Madeline “Bunny” Hoest (nee Mezz) was born in 1932 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. She graduated from Adelphi College in 1953 where she studied Literature and Creative Writing.
Following her separation from her first husband of 21 years, Bunny took a job with Bill Hoest who needed an assistant to help compile a Lockhorns book collection. The couple married in 1973.
Bunny began writing captions for The Lockhorns and eventually worked with her husband on scripts for his other features. Following Bill’s death in 1988, she continued to produce the cartoons and comic strips, working with illustrator John Reiner (1956- ) who had begun as Bill’s assistant in 1986. In 1994, Renier received the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) award for Best Magazine Gag Cartoonist. In 2013, Bunny Hoest and John Reiner received the NCS’s prestigious Gold Key award honoring them as members of the NCS Hall of Fame. Curated by Ashley Kranjac.
For more information, please contact:
Adelphi University, Archives and Special Collections