Just days after the passing of famed caricature artist Al Hirschfeld, the art world has lost another icon in cartoonist Bill Mauldin. The Pulitzer Prize winner, best know for his hard-luck GI characters Willie and Joe, passed away from respiratory failure on the morning of Jan. 22 at a nursing home in Newport Beach, Calif. He was 81.
Just as Dilbert reflects the woes and ironic humor of office life, Mauldin’s cartoons in the armed forces newspaper Stars and Stripes served as a comic and emotional outlet for frustrated GIs on the frontlines of WWII.
Maudlin’s wartime cartoons were syndicated in more that 300 newspapers and won him his first of two Pulitzers at the age of 23. He went on to write and illustrate more than a dozen books and establish himself as one of the country’s most influential cartoonists. On Veterans Day, Peanuts creator Charles Schulz would often have Snoopy announce that he was going to Mauldin’s house for root beers.