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The Lockhorns: An Interview With Bunny Hoest

Hoest, Reiner to Give Artist Lectures at FSC Campus

Cartoonist Bunny Hoest, widow of The Lockhorns creator Bill Hoest, and artist John Reiner celebrated their gallery exhibit at Memorial Gallery in Sinclair Hall on the campus of Farmingdale State College on Tuesday, Sept. 14.

The comic strip was originally named The Lockhorn’s of Levittown when it began in 1968. The cartoon follows the lives of, married couple, Leroy and Loretta Lockhorn who are always arguing. They are known for exchanging sarcastic or funny comments, most often revolving around married life.

Hoest shared stories and ideas, and also gave advice to students in attendance at the exhibit’s opening reception. She said that creating one picture with concise, straight-to-the-point quotes was harder than it looked.  

“Brevity is the key,” said Hoest while she explained the process to her work to reception guests. “I work on more than one idea at a time and try to keep it as short, snappy, and succinct as I can.” She said that observing the way people interact with one another is what makes her work better.

Hoest, 78, has the vibrancy of someone 30 years younger. From her determination and success, it is apparent that her dedication to The Lockhorns is unwavering.

A quote from one of the comic scenes on display reads, “His wife and car are missing. He says it’s the best car he ever had and would appreciate it if we could find it.”

Artist John Reiner, helps to bring the quotes to life. “We get ideas for The Lockhorns from everyday observation, from interesting people, funny situations, driving or even at dinner,” said Reiner.

 “I give him the quote with ideas on how the pictures should come out and he takes care of the rest,” said Hoest, explaining their collaboration. Some of their comic pieces take years to come to completion.

Hoest works on six daily and five weekend cartoon ideas each day. “I’m a nervous wreck,” she said jokingly about her strict deadlines. Taking her work in stride, she said, “It’s fun to make people laugh; the work is finished way ahead of publication so the results are usually delayed gratification.”

As a world-renowned cartoonist, and published in over 23 countries, it was surprising to learn that she has never had a gallery exhibit for her cartoons in the 42 years that The Lockhorns has been in publication.

Unlike her fellow writers and other cartoonists, the former English teacher shows no signs of stopping any time soon. In a male dominated industry, Hoest has been one of very few female cartoonists. In syndication, she shares the pages with other male cartoonists like Garry Trudeau of Doonesbury, Scott Adams of Dilbert and Jim Davis of Garfield.

Patrons can hear John Reiner’s lecture on Thursday, Oct. 14, at 11 a.m. at Ward Hall. Bunny Hoest will give a lecture on Thursday, Oct. 21 at 11 a.m. at Gleeson Hall, both on the campus of Farmingdale State College. Fans can see original artwork and panels in Memorial Gallery in Sinclair Hall, at the exhibit on display now through Sunday, Nov. 14, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Gallery and lectures are handicapped accessible, admission is free for all.