44¢ Beetle Bailey
Issue Date: July 16, 2010
City: Columbus, OH
Mort Walker created Beetle Bailey, the always-sleepy Army private, based on his observation: “Success isn’t funny; failure is.” Since 1950, Beetle Bailey has made fun of the absurdity of Army life, with a teasing touch that has made it one of the most successful comics ever.
Walker first drew Beetle as a college dropout who enrolled in the Army. Since then, his home has been Camp Swampy, commanded by General Halftrack, who wants nothing more than to dodge his domineering wife and escape to the golf course or officer’s club for a martini.
Beetle dedicates his time to napping, avoiding work, and chatting with Miss Buxley, the general’s gorgeous civilian secretary. His opponent is Sergeant Snorkel, a dedicated career man whose personal mission is to get Beetle to work. More often than not, “Sarge” is frustrated in the attempt and ends up pounding Beetle into a pulp.
Walker based the strip on his own experiences with Army life, and the disorder that went along with it. Over the years, the comic has drawn protests from those who see it as disrespectful or sexist, although Walker said his goal was to point out how silly such attitudes were. In Beetle Bailey, both failure and foolishness are funny.