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Beetle Enlists – Part 2

King Features Syndicate was initially opposed to the idea of Beetle Bailey joining the army, but one of their most important clients, a Philadelphia newspaper, thought it was worth trying. King Features listened, and gave in.

Here is the week from March 1951 in which Beetle enlisted.1951.3.12-141951.3.15-17

“Later I learned from my syndicate that they would have rejected the Beetle Bailey strip if, at the beginning, it had been about soldiers, and not about college life,” Mort Walker revealed.
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Beetle Enlists – Part 1

In 1950, the war in Korea was heating up and many young men of Beetle’s age were called up for military service. After training they were flown to the war zone in Korea. It became apparent to Mort Walker that he couldn’t let Beetle remain in college so he suggested to King Features that Beetle enlist in the army.
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Spider

Mort Walker drew a college student with a hat in some of the cartoons that he sold to the Saturday Evening Post in the late 1940s.

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Saturday Evening Post cartoon by Mort Walker, circa 1948

The SAP editor, John Bailey, liked the character and suggested to Mort that he develop a regular feature for the kid. These are Mort’s first design sketches of “Spider” from 1949. The one at the top center was the one he chose to use.
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