In the previous ten posts, beginning on May 6, 2016, we traced how Beetle Bailey rose in circulation from 200 newspapers in 1953 to 1100 clients in 1968. The advertisement above, from 1970, completes this amazing story.
“What makes a successful comic strip?” Rube Goldberg once asked. “Don’t try to analyze it, it’s pure magic,” he answered.
By 1968, when the King Features sales brochure shown above and below was produced, the circulation of Beetle Bailey had reached 1100 subscribers. It was the second most successful strip in the business, after Blondie.
“What is the secret of Beetle Bailey’s popularity?” the text inside the brochure asked. The answer to that question followed. “He hilariously exemplifies everything a G.I. should not be…has every quality it takes to win his own private war with the Army.”
Beetle Bailey passed an important milestone in 1965 – the strip now appeared in 1000 newspapers. Only Blondie had more clients.
The image above is from the mailing envelope for the King Features 1965 sales brochure. We no longer have a copy of the complete kit in our archives.
“It was the heyday of Beetle,” Mort Walker’s assistant Jerry Dumas remembered in a 2010 interview. “Everything looked good – the gags were solid and funny, the strip was growing and was extremely popular all over the world.”