Early Sarge – Part 1

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When Beetle Bailey joined the army in 1951 he needed someone to keep him in line. Sarge was the result.EarlySarge2

“Sarge is probably my favorite character to draw,” Mort Walker recounted in the 1984 book, The Best of Beetle Bailey. “Not only does he look funny in all positions, but he takes up a lot of space which saves me from drawing a lot of backgrounds. He’s garrulous, profane, ecstatic, rough, sentimental, voracious…he does everything to the extreme.”
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The First Sunday

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This is the first Beetle Bailey Sunday page, which was published on September 14, 1952.

Beetle Bailey Sunday page, color proof, September 14, 1952.

Beetle Bailey Sunday page, color proof, September 14, 1952.

Mort Walker was excited about this new development. “Now I had a chance to ‘embellish’ my drawings,” he recalled in an interview. “I put in an incredible amount of work into drawing uniforms, military vehicles, buildings, etc. Everything needed to look real and true to life.”
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King Features Makes an Announcement

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After Beetle Bailey joined the army and the daily strip started to sell better, King Features was encouraged to launch a Sunday page. Here is the sales brochure from 1952.

King Features sales brochure, front side, 1952.

King Features sales brochure, front side, 1952.

King Features sales brochure, back side, 1952.

King Features sales brochure, back side, 1952.

This was scanned and restored by Bill Janocha and Neal Walker from the original brochure in our archives. It may be the only example in existence.
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