Timeline – 1998 Part 4

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Beetle Bailey Sunday page digital proof, September 13, 1998.

In the Sunday page above, General Halftrack decides to go outside and select a volunteer for a dangerous mission.  For some mysterious reason, the camp is deserted.

Camp Swampy was inspired by Camp Crowder in Missouri, an antique relic from WWI where Mort Walker trained in 1941.  There are no army bases that look like this any more.

Below is a depiction of the camp that was done as a poster for our Swedish publishers in 1983.

Beetle Bailey’s home base exists in a time warp, forgotten by the Pentagon, tenuously connected to civilian life and curiously unaffected by progress. Mort made numerous attempts to make the camp more up-to-date and true-to-life but, over the years, it developed a unique personality of its own.

“Camp Swampy isn’t merely an army camp,” wrote Dik Browne in the introduction to The Best of Beetle Bailey. “It is a microcosm of the world, peopled by delightful lunatics, each endowed with an unforgettable character by its creator.”

Camp Swampy was one of the featured locales in an exhibit I did at the Charles Schulz Museum in 2010, entitled “Place in the Comics.” Among the other settings were Krazy Kat’s Coconino County, L’il Abner’s Dogpatch, Pogo’s Okefenokee Swamp, Doonesbury’s Walden Puddle and Zippy’s Dingburg.

Next week we will be moving on to 1999 in our Timeline series so be sure to check back.

– Brian Walker

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