Mallard Fillmore first hatched from the pen of Bruce Tinsley at The Daily Progress in Charlottesville, Va. Today, the celebrated comic strip about Tinsley’s conservative reporter-duck fills the bill in nearly 400 newspapers nationwide.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate since 1994, readers of newspapers across the country enjoy the duck’s right-wing viewpoint.
Tinsley created Mallard for what he saw as the conservative underdog. The strip is for “the average person out there: the forgotten American taxpayer who’s sick of the liberal media and cultural establishments that act like he or she doesn’t exist,” he says.
“Mallard” almost did not see the light of day. When asked to come up with a mascot for The Daily Progress entertainment section, artist Tinsley showed editors three ideas: a blue hippopotamus, a big nose in tuxedo and cane, and a duck.
Tinsley says the hippo went unused for fear of offending overweight people, and the nose was axed because it would “offend people of Jewish and Mediterranean descent, not to mention Arabs and anyone else with a big nose.” Tinsley says he thought his editors were kidding, but they were not.
Once Mallard Fillmore was off and running, editors requested Tinsley tone down its conservative bias. When he refused, he was fired.
The strip caught the attention of The Washington Times, which used Tinsley’s wise-quacking journalist in the commentary section before moving the strip to the comics pages. The rest, as they say, is history.