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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 07/22/2009

Does 'Beetle' Mania Live On? Time to Defend That 'Toon

By The Reliable Source

'BEETLE BAILEY' (KFS)Enlarge Image

Later today, this Riffster will begin blogging from San Diego Comic-Con. But first, it's time for this week's edition of "Defend...That...Toon!"

Today's strip on the talking block: "Beetle Bailey." This famously was the last comic strip personally approved by William Randolph "Citizen Kane" Hearst. Creator Mort Walker and his sons have kept the land of Camp Swampy running for six decades since, through Korea and Vietnam and two wars in Iraq. (Note: Beetle and the boys have never seen combat, the strip's creative team has told Comic Riffs. Only war games for them.)

The man-loathing, woman-fearing Sarge and the notoriously sexist Gen. Halftrack and his secretary Miss Buxley and even the funnypages's only palindromic dog (Otto) have spawned spinoffs (the warm-and-fuzzy Hi and Lois) and continued to command thousands of newspaper clients. But some 'Riffs readers have occasionally said they find the strip outdated, tired and/or irrelevant in 2009.

So the question to 'Riffs readers today is: Do you think "Beetle Bailey" deserves its real estate on The Post's comics pages?
If you're not a fan, feel free to Impugn That 'Toon. Otherwise, you've invited to Defend...That...'Toon.

By The Reliable Source  | July 22, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Defend That 'Toon, The E-Mailbag  
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I think BB should just end naturally ~ say with Sarge beating Beetle completely to death, then falling off that cliff and hanging on to that branch for a long time but no-one is there to rescue him because, well, Beetle's gone now and Otto goes mad from starvation and eats General Halftrack and... HEY! This is getting gruesome! Move it to Kidspost first.

And since I hit the tail-end of yesterday, I'll repeat myself:

Is Brad ("Luann") the luckiest guy in the comics? Followed closely by Amos ("9 Chickweed Lane")?

Posted by: filfeit | July 22, 2009 7:23 AM | Report abuse

Beetle Bailey is an outdated zombie. There really isn't anything to defend in it. Place it on involuntary AWOL.

Toni (in Luann) would look cuter if her lips didn't look like they had been treated with botox.

On the subject of zombies, why in the world does the Post still include "Opus" on its Internet list of "current" comics?


Posted by: kilby | July 22, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

One of the many strips whose time has long since passed. Outdated and irrelevant, with stale humor and a cast of two-dimensional stereotypes. I'll be amazed if anyone comments here to support it.

Posted by: Paul729 | July 22, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Let's see... an Army outfit that has never been deployed overseas, that has exactly one black soldier, and whose most fearsome member is the general's wife - yeah, that's a really relevant depiction of military life in 2009. It's time for Camp Swampy to be added to the list of base closings at the Post.

Posted by: seismic-2 | July 22, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Hasn't been funny in decades.
But I remember reading somwhere that the only sections that people really complain about are th TV listings and the comics, I imagine it would cause upheavel in too many households to pull it. Alas.

Posted by: Socalwhite | July 22, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

As long as Beetle Bailey dies when (original creator) Mort Walker does, I will have no complaints. The strip is sexist and poorly drawn and hacky and outdated, and that's not to mention how unfunny it generally is. But comic readers are used to it, blah blah blah, so fine, it can stay for now.

Posted by: jakeok | July 22, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I despise this strip. I would love for it to vanish. But I would love even more for the secretaries and wives to revolt first.

It's totally irrelevant and sexist, and it's almost never funny.

Posted by: oceanchild | July 22, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Morph to a new strip - Sarge retires, Beetle gets out, etc. to find the outside world has aged 60 years, but they're physically/mentally/emotionally the same as when they first entered Camp Swampy (cue: Twilight Zone theme). Lots of stuff to mine here....

Posted by: nonsensical2001 | July 22, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Dump Camp comment about not relavent is true...and it is boring. Just drop it...don't think the children are into an old, outdated Army comic.

Posted by: ZeldaJane | July 22, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I dunno - I agree Beetle is outdated, stale, etc. etc. However, it is one of a few comics that have just "always" been there - I'm having trouble imagining the comics without it.

Others include Blondie, Dennis the Menace and on Sundays, Prince Valiant. It would sadden me to see them go, even though their time may be past by any objective (and most subjective) measures.

Posted by: drewdane | July 22, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

If you pretend that Beetle and Sarge are secretly in love, this strip is a whole lot funnier. And the other day, there was that strip where General Halftrack got fisted by his doctor, which was awesome.

Posted by: Roto13 | July 22, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Of course, this is all a moot point. Beetle Bailey has been around for decades, and it'a a fixture on the comics page. The general public remembers reading it when they were growing up, so the next time that WaPo hires some outside consulting firm to conduct a phone survey of 1000 random people who seldom if ever read the comics and ask them which ones the Post should keep or drop, the familiar Beetle is guaranteed to be a "keeper".

I wonder what would happen if the Post made **all** its editorial (non-)decisions that same way.

Posted by: seismic-2 | July 22, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

I read the comic every day but all that happens is Sarge beating up Beetle Bailey. There is no creativity in this comic. The next step is sentence Sarge to life in the stockade for his contiueing violence.

Posted by: markhagner1 | July 23, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Let me say that just because a comic is sexist doesn't mean it can't be funny. Just because it's poorly drawn doesn't mean it can't be funny. Just because it's irrelevant doesn't mean it can't be funny. Just because it's filled with stereotypes doesn't mean it can't be funny.

Unfortunately, Beetle Bailey is all of the above and is most definitely not funny. It is among the worst of the classic "funnies", recycling jokes that weren't funny in the first place. I would willingly take any of the comics listed on your comics website over Beetle Bailey including Barney Google or Andy Capp. [Okay, not any, Hart's BC and Wizard of Id are equally as bad.]

I can't believe that Beetle Bailey has the loyal following of a Peanuts or Family Circus. Please frag it.

Posted by: davep1 | July 23, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I have never laughed at it. I have never read it and said, "that's clever."

There's never been a day that's gone by that I haven;t thought I could write better than Mssrs. Walker. Never.

I once read that Mort Walker said he could write 20 jokes in an hour. For the love of Pete, isn't it about time he put them in his strip.

Posted by: greasypores | July 23, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Dump it, its a throwback and boringly unfunny. Find something from this century to replace it with (no, not another politically correct yawner like Kathy - ugh!).

Posted by: webdevgal | July 24, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

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