“The Outcasts” began as a request from New York for Ben Wicks to come up with a rival idea to be used by newspapers that didn’t carry “Doonesbury”. The idea that Wicks suggested involved having the President of the United States on a small island. He had won an election by promising the inhabitants he would get them off the island. An agreement in principal was reached but the exchange of money for delivery of the strips got in the way. As negotiations continued, Wicks adapted the idea to having Prime Minister Trudeau on the island. This strip was distributed by the Toronto Star Syndicate, and was in fifty Canadian newspapers by the time the cheque arrived from New York. Although Wicks proceeded with the U.S. version, it never caught on in the U.S. Meanwhile the Canadian strip was immensely successful in Canada. Although the exact dates for the strip’s beginning and end is uncertain, it was in newspapers at least by 22 Sept. 1975 and was still appearing in the Toronto Star 28 Dec. 1991.
Wicks introduced Mavis & Bill as a feature within “The Outcasts” when his wife Doreen remarked that few of his cartoons featured seniors who were a growing part of the population.
As described by Wicks:
“They have been together for an incredible number of years and like many coupleswho have overcome many hardships are now extremely close. Both have different personalities. Mavis is gentle and loves people. Bill dislikes most things and in particular, most people. Marvis is a liberal minded person. Bill is conservative in his ways and political Polical thinking.”
BOOK GRAPHIC COLLECTION:
Front: Mavis & Bill. Car., Ben Wicks. Methuen Publications, 1986.
Mavis & Bill. Car., Ben Wicks. Methuen Publications, 1986.
“Mavis & Bill/Ben Wicks.” Mavis & Bill. Car., Ben Wicks. Methuen Publications, 1986: Back cover.
Master of None. Writ., Ben Wicks. McClelland & Stewart Ltd., 1995: 225
Newspaper unknown probably the Toronto Star, 22 Sept. 1975.
Toronto Star, 10 Sept. 1983.
Mavis & Bill, Front cover.