Beetle Bailey Sunday page, February 9, 1964.
In 1964, Mort Walker and Jerry Dumas came up with a new character dimension for Sergeant Snorkel. Readers were now able to share his vivid dreams and fantasies.
In the Sunday page above he transforms into “Sarge!” a superhero with abilities far beyond the powers of mortal men. In the end, it turns out Sarge is just having a dream triggered by the comic books and pizza he consumed before going to sleep.
In the previous ten posts, beginning on May 6, 2016, we traced how Beetle Bailey rose in circulation from 200 newspapers in 1953 to 1100 clients in 1968. The advertisement above, from 1970, completes this amazing story.
“What makes a successful comic strip?” Rube Goldberg once asked. “Don’t try to analyze it, it’s pure magic,” he answered.
By 1968, when the King Features sales brochure shown above and below was produced, the circulation of Beetle Bailey had reached 1100 subscribers. It was the second most successful strip in the business, after Blondie.
“What is the secret of Beetle Bailey’s popularity?” the text inside the brochure asked. The answer to that question followed. “He hilariously exemplifies everything a G.I. should not be…has every quality it takes to win his own private war with the Army.”