Timeline – 1967 Part 3

Beetle Bailey Sunday page color proof, September 17, 1967.

The question that readers most often ask cartoonists is, “where do you get your ideas?” There is no easy answer.

Jerry Dumas, longtime gag writer for Beetle Bailey, described his process for an article in 1984. “So we each sit in our homes, studying blank sheets of paper. We keep trying to think of a combination of words and pictures nobody has ever done before. We try to think of a ridiculous, preposterous picture, an absurd situation, something that would be the direct result of a character’s previous action. But the first two panels must be believable. If it sounds or looks contrived, the reader will not believe the conclusion, and the gag will be second rate.”

Timeline – 1966 Part 3

Beetle Bailey Sunday page color proof, July 21, 1966.

In this classic Sunday page, Beetle delivers a message the old fashioned way – by hand. As the low man on the totem pole at Camp Swampy he frequently has to be a go-between for the higher-ups. He rarely gets any respect even when he does his job beyond the call of duty.

Timeline – 1966 Part 1

Beetle Bailey Sunday page color proof, April 10, 1966.

During the 1950s and 60s, Mort Walker tried to introduce a new character every year to help create additional sources of gag material. “Most of my gags are built on the interplay and conflict between characters,” he explained in a 1984 interview. “It began to get confusing with too many characters so I dropped the ones who failed to develop a following.” Among these short-lived players were Ozone, who was dumber than Zero, Moocher, a guy who was always borrowing things and Pop, a married man who was henpecked by his wife after being bossed around by Sarge during the day. They all got the hook.