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.”

Here is the first appearance of Sarge in Beetle Bailey.

Beetle Bailey daily strip, March 30, 1951.

Beetle Bailey daily strip, March 30, 1951.

In the beginning his only characteristic was meaness. He was much leaner than he is today and had two front teeth instead of one.

Beetle Bailey daily strip, April 12, 1951.

Beetle Bailey daily strip, April 12, 1951.

Sometimes he spoke with an accent.

Beetle Bailey daily strip, April 24, 1951.

Beetle Bailey daily strip, April 24, 1951.

Sarge gradually took shape and evolved into something that resembled, in Mort’s words, “a blimp in full bloom.” Stay tooned to see how he became the character that readers came to know and love.

– Brian Walker

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2 thoughts on “Early Sarge – Part 1

  1. I’ve followed BB for years. It is now time for his honorable discharge and the closure of Camp Swampy. There is no place for the strip to go. BB will never be promoted; Sarge will never get his 6th stripe, the General is sunk into senility and Zero will never get to plus 1. BB and Sarge can continue to demolish each other to no end. Yes, a final salute is due.
    Respectfully Submitted,
    Stanley J. Serxner, MSG USA (Ret)

  2. I remember a Beetle Bailey Sunday comic from 1961 I would like to see again. It would have been in February or March, not long after President Kennedy was sworn into office. Seems everyone was standing in line at several Camp Swampy locations, and they were complaining about their wait. Beetle, I believe, made a remark about lines being everywhere. The last panel showed a closed bathroom door. A voice in the last panel was saying, “Hurry up Caroline.” Of course it was the President waiting for his young daughter Caroline to get out of the bathroom. I have been reading Beetle Bailey for 60 years, and that cartoon is the only one that has stayed with me. It was a good commentary on the nation’s fascination with a young child being in the White House. I hope you can find and post the comic. Thank you, Bill Hicks

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