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Timeline – 1972 Part 2

Beetle Bailey Sunday page color proof, February 27, 1972.

The introduction and evolution of Sarge’s dog Otto has been documented in previous posts. To revisit that history, here are a few quotes from The Best of Beetle Bailey by creator Mort Walker.

“Every boy should have a dog, as the saying goes, to teach him love, responsibility and to turn around three times before he lies down. Sarge, being a boy at heart, deserved a dog. But did he deserve Otto? In Otto’s puppyhood he was a real dog, walking on all fours and communicating with woofs and growls. It wasn’t long before I fell into the old cartoonist’s trap and humanized him. I guess he’s funnier that way.”

Timeline – 1972 Part 1

Beetle Bailey Sunday page color proof, June 4, 1972.

Comics historian and critic R.C. Harvey has written an excellent assessment of the Mort Walker studio style. The following is an excerpt from his definitive book, The Art of the Funnies, first published in 1994.

“By the late fifties and early sixties,” Harvey begins, “Walker’s patented stylized forms had emerged. Not since Cliff Sterrett surrealized human anatomy in the futuristic manner have we had such charming comic abstractions of the human form. The simplest shapes suggest human dimensions. Beetle’s head is a cantaloupe; Sarge’s, a giant pear. Upon these pulpy craniums, Walker’s grafts billiard balls for noses. Bodies in repose hang limply from these heads like uninhabited suits of clothes weighted to the ground by monster shoes (not feet), and hands are doughy wads, dangling at the ends of empty sleeves. Clothing shows no wrinkles: sleeves and pantlegs are simple geometric shapes vaguely approximating arms and legs.”

Timeline – 1971 Part 4

Beetle Bailey Sunday page color proof, May 30, 1971.

Although it is not currently baseball season, this gag is adaptable to any team sport. Sarge could just as easily be giving a pep talk to the football team.

This Sunday page was inspired by the famous “win one for the Gipper” speech. George Gipp was an all-American halfback, quarterback and kicker for Notre Dame from 1917 to 1920. He died of a throat infection days after leading his team to a victory over Northwestern in his senior season.

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