The Wizard performing an experiment. Artist: Brant Parker.


Medium: Newspaper comics
Distributed by by: Publishers-Hall Syndicate
First Appeared: 1964
Creators: Brant Parker and Johnny Hart
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An irascible tyrant, a cowardly knight, a drunken jester, a perennial dungeon dweller, a "robbing hood" who takes from the wretch and gives to the peer, and an infinite supply of expendable …

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… peasants are just a few of the characters who cavort through the mythical medieval kingdom of Id in this hilarious and very popular comic strip.

The Wizard of Id is the brainchild of Johnny Hart, who had already achieved success with B.C., and Brant Parker, a newcomer to comics when the strip debuted on Nov. 9, 1964 (who later became known for Out of Bounds and Crock). It made its mark very quickly — the first of dozens of paperback collections came in 1965, and all of them have remained continuously in print.

The strip won its first major award only four years after its debut — in 1968, it was cited as part of the reason for Hart's Reuben Award. Parker, too, won a Reuben for it, in 1984. In addition, the National Cartoonists' Society has awarded it plaques for the year's best humor strip in 1971, 1976, 1980, 1982, and 1983. It's distributed by Creators Syndicate, which also handled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Thatch while those comics were running.

The strip's humor style — quite contemporary, in contrast to its medieval setting — ranges from broad and low to pure black. Particularly dark are the sentences the king hands out to peasant miscreants. E.g., if a peasant sentenced to beheading should beg for mercy on grounds that it's Valentine's Day, the king will commute the sentence to having his heart cut out.

Creative personnel remained steady for decades, but eventually turned over completely. In 1987, Parker took on his son, Jeff, as an assistant. He retired ten years later, leaving Jeff to handle the "Parker" end of the operation. And in 2007, both Hart and the elder Parker died, leaving both parts of the operation in the hands of assistants.

The Wizard of Id currently appears in over 1,000 newspapers. A prominent display of titles in its paperback reprint series can be seen wherever the best in humorous books are sold.


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Text ©2000-09 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Brant Parker and Johnny Hart.