Animation

Marmaduke Creator Passes Away at 91

Blake Harris 09.09.2015

Earlier today it was reported that Brad Anderson, the cartoonist responsible for creating Marmaduke—a beloved comic strip centered around a lovable Great Dane—passed away due to a congestive heart failure. To honor his life and work, we wanted to shine a light on some of the highlights from his career.

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For those unfamiliar with Brad Anderson, he grew up in Brocton, NY and then served in the Navy from 1943-46. Although he loved illustration and animation—hoping one day to make a career in this field—he initially aspired to become an industry designer. As such, he attended Syracuse University on the G.I. Bill to study this area. While there, however, embraced his creative passion and wound up graduating with a B.F.A in Fine Arts. After college, Anderson went to work for the advertising agency Ball & Grier, located in Utica, NY. He spent two years in the advertising industry before deciding to focus exclusively on freelance magazine cartoon (in particular, from 1954-66, he drew a strip called Grandpa’s Boy).

At the same time he started work on Grandpa’s Boy, Anderson also created a comic strip called Marmaduke. According to an interview with Cartoonist Profiles, here’s how the idea came about: “During the time, I was drawing various types of dogs in my magazine cartoons. I was also trying to develop a dog character specifically for eventual newspaper syndication…you couldn’t see the eyes of my shaggy dogs, so as I thought more about it I decided I wanted a dog where I could have an expressive face.”

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For over fifty years, Anderson continued to draw his classic strip. And, over that time, it was adapted into books, animated cartoons and a live-action feature film (starring Owen Wilson as the voice of Marmaduke). In recent years, Anderson reportedly continued to draw the strip with the help of his son Paul. Whether with his son, or on his own, the fun and passion Anderson derived from this work can be felt throughout the entire run.

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Blake Harris

Blake Harris

Blake Harris is the author of "Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation."
Blake Harris

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