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Early Characters – Part 2

It takes a while for a comic strip character to fully develop. Like a new friend, readers need to get to know him. The character’s shape has to be worked out so it is recognizable from all angles, even in silhouette. The creator has to decide what the character can or can’t do to keep him consistent. He slowly grows before the readers’ eyes until one day, BINGO!
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Early Characters – Part 1

In a 1984 interview, Mort Walker reminisced about the early days of Beetle Bailey. “In the creation of a strip you’re not sure what the public will like. So you try something and, if it doesn’t work, you try something else. I’m always experimenting with layout, gag styles and art techniques. But mostly, I experiment with new characters.”
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Early Sarge – Part 3

It took a while for Mort Walker to decide how many teeth Sarge would have and where they would be located in his mouth. In the months after his debut on March 30, 1951, Sarge had two teeth in his upper jaw. This is what he looked like on December 13, 1951.SargeTopTeethThirteen days later, Sarge had two teeth in his lower jaw.SargeBottomTeethOver the course of the next few months, Sarge’s teeth moved around in his mouth. In this strip from February 1952, Sarge has one lower tooth in the first two panels and two upper teeth in the last panel.SargeMovingTeethFinally, by April 1952, Mort settled on a consistent look. Sarge has had a single tooth in his lower jaw ever since.SargeOneToothIn this strip from 1953, Sarge goes to the dentist for a checkup. By this time, readers knew that Sarge had only one tooth in his mouth.SargeFinalToothStay tooned for more on the early history of Beetle Bailey.
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