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Timeline – 1975 Part 1

Beetle Bailey Sunday page color proof, April 20, 1975.

Beetle Bailey has one of the largest casts of any newspaper comic strip.  The Sunday page above features eight distinctive personalities.

In the 1960s, the lineup included:  Beetle, Sarge, General Halftrack, Zero, Killer, Cookie, Captain Scabbard, Lieutenant Fuzz, Major Greenbrass, Chaplain Staneglass, Rocky, Cosmo, Julius, Otto, Plato, Pop, Miss Blips, Martha, Roz, Doc, Mom, Gurney and Chigger Bailey and Bunny, Sue and Peter Piper.  Doctor Bonkus, Lieutenant Flap, Miss Buxley, Sergeant Lugg, Corporal Yo and Chip Gizmo were added in subsequent years.
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Timeline – 1973 Part 4

Beetle Bailey Sunday page color proof, Dec. 9, 1973.

The Sunday page above shows what it would look like if Beetle drew the comic strip that he stars in. This type of self-referential humor is called, “metacomics” by cartoon scholars. Over a decade earlier, King Features announced something new.Sam’s Strip was ahead of its time when it debuted in 1961. Mort Walker and Jerry Dumas’ offbeat creation took the inside joke to a new level, playing with the basic elements of the cartoon form, experimenting with different art styles and featuring famous characters from other strips. Sam and his cartoonist assistant owned and operated the comic strip they inhabited. The Yellow Kid, Jiggs, Krazy Kat, Dagwood and Charlie Brown were among the many familiar faces who made walk-on appearances. Sam and his assistant discussed the inner workings and hidden secrets of life within the panel borders. This type of self-referential humor, called “metacomics” by scholar Thomas Inge, had been explored previously by Al Capp, Ernie Bushmiller and Walt Kelly and has been used on a more regular basis by such contemporary cartoonists as Garry Trudeau, Berke Breathed and Bill Griffith. Sam’s Strip never appeared in more than sixty papers and was terminated by its creators in 1963. It is considered a cult classic among comic-strip aficionados today.
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Timeline – 1968 Part 3

Beetle Bailey Sunday page color proof, June 11, 1968.

Jerry Dumas began working as Mort Walker’s assistant in 1956. He described their daily routine at Mort’s home studio during the 1960s in a 2010 interview.

“Mort was always very easy to be with. It didn’t make any difference if I showed up at 9:30 or 10 or 10:15. He would always be there at 8:30 in the morning, quit promptly at 5 o’clock – business hours – and I was free to come and go more or less as I pleased, as long as the work got done and the work always got done.”
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