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G.I. Bailey

Beetle Bailey daily strip, April 7, 1955.

Beetle Bailey daily strip, April 7, 1955.

Beetle Bailey represents the typical downtrodden G.I. Joe (G.I. stands for “government issued,” which is the degree of anonymity most G.I.s feel). They’re herded like cattle, treated like dirt and praised for being the protectors of our freedom…which they give up the minute they join the Army. Their duty, as they see it, is to work as hard as possible to avoid work…then stay up all night having fun.
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Officers’ School

Beetle Bailey daily strip, June 19, 1952.

Beetle Bailey daily strip, June 19, 1952.

Some of Mort Walker’s best ideas come from personal experience, as in the strip above. When Mort first joined the Army he saw a bulletin announcing that there were ten openings for Officers’ School. “I asked permission to take the test,” Mort recounted. “My sergeant thought it was humorous that a mere private should have such lofty ambitions. When his laughter subsided he gave me permission. Four hundred applicants showed up for the test. I took one look and recognized a test I had taken before. I breezed through it and was on the train for O.C.S. that night.”
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The Fifties

Beetle Bailey daily strip, November 25, 1953.

Beetle Bailey daily strip, November 25, 1953.

Mort Walker, in the anthology collection, The Best of Beetle Bailey, published in 1984, talked about the first decade of his creation. “My comic strip is much different today than it was thirty years ago. Back then people had more time and editors gave you more room. I used to draw more big scenes, more detail and more dialogue.”
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