We recently discovered a rare King Features sales brochure from 1951 in our archives.
King Features sales brochure, 1951 (front side).
King Features sales brochure, 1951 (back side).
This promotional piece represents a significant turning point in the history of Beetle Bailey.
The copy on the front page explained the reasoning for the change: “With millions of men going into the service, leaving behind families that represented millions of more readers vitally interested in G.I. life – a good, humorous take off on the army is a comic-strip investment with a guaranteed return for any newspaper.”
Although the Korean War was raging, Beetle did not end up in combat after he joined the army. The main theme of the strip remained relatively the same. Beetle was just as lazy and carefree as he was during his college days and a similar cast of military friends replaced his fraternity buddies. In the new environment in which Beetle now found himself, Mort Walker could use the experiences from his own four years in the army. He also had pages of sketches and drawings, plus a diary describing everyday military life.
In March of 1951 Beetle Bailey found himself in the military. He had enlisted reluctantly. After being dragged into a recruiting office by his buddies, he signed the papers and was in the army for the long haul.
In Beetle’s first week in the army, he got a physical exam, took some tests and was given a uniform.Was Beetle going to be shipped off to the war in Korea? Stay tooned.