See All Topics

Home / Section: Comic strips

Graham Nolan passes Rex Morgan MD torch to Terry Beatty

Graham Nolan, who has been the artist behind Rex Morgan MD for 14 years has stepped away from the strip to concentrate on other projects and has passed the duties to Terry Beatty. Terry has been the artist for King Feature’s The Phantom since January of 2012 and he’ll continue to draw the iconic feature.

Terry’s first Sunday strip will run this weekend. Terry’s work on the dailies started December 30th of last year (see above). Regular readers may have noticed the change in drawing style. It happens anytime a new artist takes over a strip. On a blog post, Terry indicates he wasn’t given a lot of time to adopt Graham’s style and readers should expect a certain amount of time for him to settle into the duties – which I think is reasonable.

Terry writes:

I take my work on Rex very seriously, and am giving it everything I have — even while fighting a vicious case of bronchitis, as I have been for over a week now (yes, I’ve seen a doctor, I’m on meds, etc.) Any new artist coming on to the strip would have an adjustment period in which the character designs will shift — some more than others. That happened to me on The Phantom as well — it just took a little while for “my” Phantom to emerge. The same natural process is happening with Rex — and just as it took readers a while to accept the change in style from Tony DiPreta’s work when Graham Nolan came on board, it’s going to take a while for some folks to accept me. I’m okay with that.

Some have suggested that I should have taken more time to practice drawing the characters before taking over the art. That’s a lovely idea, in theory — but in reality, I was hired to draw the strip — and then — had to start drawing the strip. There was no great block of time beforehand for me to “warm up.” It’s the nature of newspaper strips that they have to be done and delivered no matter how tight the deadline. And I had to hit the ground running here to keep things on schedule.

Graham has hinted of some creator-owned projects he’s working that he’ll announce sometime in the future.

Rex Morgan MD is authored by long time comic strip writer Woody Wilson.

Community Comments

#1 Gerry Mooney
January/7/2014
@ 4:52 pm

I noticed this change just yesterday. I’ll miss Nolan’s classy work but Beatty looks like he has a feel for it already. Welcome aboard!

#2 Jim gwin
January/17/2014
@ 7:51 am

I like the artwork you do in Phantom, but I must say that while I understand your predicament, I hope you will try to refine your renditions of the key characters. June is too masculine in facial features and body. It takes away from my attraction to the strip.

#3 Sophia Zee
January/17/2014
@ 4:36 pm

I also agree the drawings need to be changed back, as if it’s too drastic, the appeal of the cartoon (which is all we have to LOOK at, there are no voices! ) is gone if the change is DISTRACTING and sorry, it is.

I feel like the soft handsome character face of Rex looks like a body builder face type, with the nuances of the eyes GONE and June’s eyebrows totally different and as others have mentioned her face looks harsh.

I understand change is always difficult but if somebody made Charlie brown look drastically different, indeed, the cartoon would lose it’s appeal no matter “what the story”. The little girls is suddenly chubby with a round face as well. But mostly I hope Rex regains some of his profile and former appeal and his formerly pretty wife.

I know change be hard, but you had to expect that when you took over the strip, right?. I don’t need harsh super hero faces and don’t read ANYTHING in Anime.

I’ve only read Rex Morgan for about a year but must confess, the change is making me lose interest but I hope you can work to give us back the Rex that was good looking (for a cartoon of course :-) ) as opposed to making him your own.

#4 Mary Tusa
January/18/2014
@ 1:21 pm

I honestly don’t know why I read RMMD, but I’ve been following it for years. I guess I have weird fascination with the way time is extremely protracted (a single evening can be stretched out over three weeks), but I’ve also been drawn in by Nolan’s artwork, which ranges from competent comic book style (Rex looks like Superman) to gosh awful (has he ever even looked at a 5-yr-old child?). I noticed the change in style when Terry Beatty took over right away. I can see that he is a skilled illustrator, and appreciate that he jumped in to this strip with little preparation, so I expect the artwork will improve as he hits his stride. Just some observations — looking at today’s strip (1/18), I’d say back off on the screentone, make June look a liitle less like a drag queen, and please, please learn how to draw children!

#5 Constance DePaoli
February/10/2014
@ 3:20 pm

I miss the fine details in the drawings, as in the difference between a pen point and a watercolor brush. However, not as bad as the change of artists on Mary Worth…

#6 Sharon Mitchell
February/10/2014
@ 3:26 pm

I noticed the difference right away, and the harsh features and dark feeling of the strip caused me to look it up! June does look quite masculine and Sarah does not look like a child. Rex looks harsh, and it has become hard for me to like the strip now. I have followed RMMD for years and years, but this seems more like a Batman strip now…..weird is all I can say, and I do like the Batman comics, just doesn’t work for RMMD!

#7 Sharon Mitchell
February/10/2014
@ 3:28 pm

Yes, I remember the Mary Worth change. It was BAD!

#8 Paul Susen
February/13/2014
@ 8:28 am

My wife and I immediately noticed the changes – they are dramatic and do unfortunately take away from the joy we have reading the story line. First of all, the caricatures change day to do. One day we have hope there may be improvement and the next day it is worse. Second, the images of June and Sarah are really off base. June as others have said is far too masculine and tough appearing. She was depicted far differently before. Sarah’s head is way too big, she looks far too old, and is simply not the attractive little girl we knew before. Rex maintains appeal but his picture changes constantly. So we are quite disappointed. We remain hopeful that given time, the graphics will improve but we have not seen any improvement to date.

#9 Caren McLerran
February/22/2014
@ 2:36 pm

I have been reading Rex Morgan for most of my life (about 10 years in the lives of Rex and June!) and I am not ashamed to say so. I love serial comics. I loved when the drawing changed to the sharp, well defined style. It was a pleasure to read and look at. Rex and June became an attractive modern couple. Then suddenly I felt we went back to the dark ages of cartoon drawing.I don’t mean to be cruel, but really wouldn’t it have been wise to pick a replacement whose style was close? The looks on their faces are scary sometimes. Like when Sarah was told she had to work in the studio at the museum sometimes. Yikes! I wouldn’t want to cross her!

#10 Joseph Anthony
February/28/2014
@ 1:06 pm

The cartoon characters look nothing like the original. The doc, his wife, and his daughter look like total strangers. At times I forget who they are because they look so different. What would happen other comics did the same thing? I think readership would fall !

#11 Joseph Anthony
February/28/2014
@ 1:10 pm

Rather than pass the torch, they should have discontinued the comic strip! The characters’ looks are too drastic ! It is hard to tell who is who ! I no longer follow the strip.

#12 Paul Brown
March/2/2014
@ 6:50 pm

I have watched this strip for many years. I agree with everything said by responders 8,9,10, 11. Hope the new guy on board can bring the former characters back to what we know.

Rex and Mary Worth are the only 2 serials in our paper. Maybe I need to let them know my concern.

#13 Rich Mueller
March/31/2014
@ 9:31 am

After reading the comments, I would agree Rex & June’s facial features seem a bit more harsh, but not that bad. On Rex, it is his nose that is too blunt. He looks like a un-successful prize fighter. In my humble opinion, they just need to be made to look a bit less stern. Maybe kinder, gentler would be more typical for this strip. In general tho, nicely done, thanx…
RFM

#14 carl collier
April/8/2014
@ 2:21 am

the faces for sarah and june can be fine tuned but the story is fine us less shadow on the the daughters face and longate it on the edges and you will have the picture near perfect. don’t give up if you do it that way people will come back im a artist my self
if you make the child less toothy and more gosimer youll have it right.

#15 carl collier
April/8/2014
@ 2:24 am

not to worry i never swear just helpful points of view.

#16 Mike Gardner
April/26/2014
@ 8:50 am

I noticed the change in the artwork and didn’t know what the “problem” was until I came on this site. The drawings are terrible! Everyone looks older and uglier. Either get a better artist or shut the strip down. It used to be very classy and my wife and I always complimented the artwork, but not anymore.
Grade of new artist: C+

#17 Rhoda Adam
May/1/2014
@ 6:01 pm

I’ve been reading Rex Morgan since I was a kid in the 40’s when he and June looked like twins, but Rex was always handsome. My mother told me she stopped reading it because she got tired of waiting for them to marry! Skip forward and the strip became more interesting and the characters more modern, their faces changed but he was still as recognizable and handsome , all to the good. NOW, they’re unrecognizable, and often just plain ugly as are other characters. If this artist remains, I won’t. Too Bad.

#18 Frank Bowin
May/31/2014
@ 7:15 pm

The change to the new artist is drastic. The drawing style of a strip is a big part of its essential character. Imagine if Dagwood or Charley Brown suddenly looked different. I wish the writer had auditioned artists rather than whatever his process was in taking on Beatty. The new drawings of Rex and June are awful. June used to be beautiful, but now looks like a block of wood. There also used to be a lot of wonderful low point of view drawing angles. Turning this classic comic over to a guy who does superheroes was a big mistake. Rex Morgan is in big trouble!

#19 Charlotte Mason
June/30/2014
@ 12:14 pm

Is it just me or wasn’t Sarah originally writing a book and was not an artist? Seems to have changed over the span of several weeks.What is going on? I also agree with prior comments on the appearance of the characters. Sarah’s head is definitely too large, and completely out of proportion. Her parents both looked very attractive until now. If anything, June’s pregnancy should have made they both look more youthful and more attractive. Don’t think I’m the only one who sees this?

#20 Barbara Bugatto
July/16/2014
@ 10:38 am

I agree with what so many others have said. The new artist is terrible. Rex and June no longer are even recognizable. He evidently doesn’t know how to draw children–they look like miniature adults. This was especially noticeable with Sarah’s “bully”. Sarah’s head is too big and out of proportion to the rest of her body. I also take exception to the portrayal of Mrs. Pierpont–ageism run amuck. How many older women do you see with lace colors and hats these days–right out of the 40’s. Very stereotypical. The artist needs to be replaced.The current artwork has certainly soured me on reading the strip.

#21 Mary Pike
November/21/2014
@ 2:40 pm

I am curious as to just when June became pregnant. It seems like it was announced at least a year ago – and she still isn’t showing.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.