Timeline – 1999 Part 3

Beetle Bailey Sunday page digital proof, July 25, 1999.

This episode features many of the terms that Mort Walker documented in his 1980 book, The Lexcion of Comicana.  Here is the cover, showing some of the same devices that appear in the middle panel.

In the early 1930s, a humorist named Charles Rice attached labels to certain cartoon phenomena.  He called sweat drops “plewds” and the dust clouds behind a running person “briffits.”  This inspired Mort to do some further research and in 1964 he produced an article for the National Cartoonists Society magazine titled, “Let’s Get Down to Grawlixes.”  It was a tongue in cheek spoof of the plethora of “comicana” found in most comic strips.
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Timeline – 1997 Part 2

Beetle Bailey Sunday page digital proof, November 9, 1997.

The Sunday page above features an event that doesn’t really happen every year.  The “Annual Cussing Contest” was created just to set up this gag.  Sergeant Bluster is also not a regular character in the strip.

Sarge is famous for his colorful language, most of which can’t be printed in a family newspaper.  We have to use special symbols to represent his swear words.
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Timeline – 1963 Part 1

Beetle Bailey Sunday page color proof, February 10, 1963.

This episode features a cussing contest between Sgt. Webbing and Sgt. Snorkel. It escalates to an extreme level of what Mort Walker has termed “maladicta.”

“Even in today’s permissive society many four letter words are not permissible in the comics,” Mort wrote in his 1980 book, The Lexicon of Comicana. “Even though profanity may be used in other sections of the paper, people feel that, since children read cartoons, the comic section should be inviolate.”
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