Terry Beatty Interviewed About the Good Dr. Rex

Susan Gerbic: [Rex Morgan, M.D.] was created by Dr. Nicholas Dallis and has been in print for over seventy years. I believe you became involved as the artist in 2013 and took over the writing as well in 2016.

Beatty: Yes, I had been drawing the Sunday adventures of The Phantom for King Features for several years when they asked if I would be interested in drawing the daily and Sunday Rex Morgan feature. Of course I said yes. When long-time Rex writer Woody Wilson retired from the strip, I took over the writing assignment, and not long after left The Phantom, as writing and drawing a seven days a week feature was more than enough work.

Beatty: I try to keep my stories to a two- to three-month run time. As for the characters aging, that’s one of the odd things about the story strips. Is the machine gun–toting Dick Tracy of the 1930s the same Dick Tracy as today’s computer-aided crime fighter? As for my Rex, I’ve established that he’s not the same Rex who started practicing medicine in 1948; somewhere along the line the story has to have rebooted, and today’s Rex is the “new guy.”

above: Terry reboots Rex Morgan

Beatty: I’ve always been fascinated by con artists and hoaxers … Having recently heard about some “mystical healers” who were offering cures for chemtrail poisoning, alien implants, and other nonexistent maladies, that seemed a perfect subject for a Rex Morgan story, and it would allow me to bring con artist character Rene Belluso back on stage. When they say “you can’t make this stuff up,” this is the sort of thing they mean.

above: Terry is not above having fun

Beatty: I occasionally check in on strips drawn or written by my friends, Joe Staton on Dick Tracy, Mike Manley on The Phantom, and Judge Parker. But I don’t read any of them daily. Busman’s holiday, y’know. My comic strip reading is all book collections of classic material—Milt Caniff’s Steve Canyon, Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant, Leonard Starr’s On Stage, etc. If Lynda Barry, Dan Clowes, Charles Burns, or Bill Griffith publish a new book/graphic novel, those go immediately on my reading list.

above: a book I’ll be reading. As Terry co-edited it, he’s already read it.


Read all of Susan Gerbic‘s interview with Terry Beatty at Skeptical Inquirer.

Read Rex Morgan, M.D. (and June) at their Comics Kingdom page.