Everyone knows someone like Zero who is not quite with it. His name is a clue to his IQ. Zero may be dense and uninformed, but he is not totally hopeless as a soldier. He always tries his best.
Beetle Bailey daily strip, September 23, 1953.
We get letters occasionally that accuse us of making fun of mentally challenged people. This, of course, is not our intention. Zero wouldn’t be in the army if he were unqualified.
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!