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From the very first Beetle Bailey strips on a college campus through Beetle's enlistment in the U.S. Army, this volume contains the first two years of Mort Walker's famous strips encompassing September 1950 through June 1952. Enjoy two separate casts of quirky characters, the first based on Mort Walker's fraternity brothers at the University of Missouri and the second on his Korean era stint in the Army. These are the strips that won him the Ruben Award in 1953.
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Lanky, leisure-loving Beetle Bailey, eternal army private, has been a humorous fixture on newspaper comics pages for over five decades. But even longtime readers might not know that at the strip's inception in September 1950, Beetle wasn't in the army at all—he was a lazy college student. Swedish publisher Egmont Karnan AB has been collecting the complete Beetle Bailey strips; now Checker has brought Egmont's series to the United States with this inaugural volume reprinting the strip's first 21 months. For six months, Beetle skipped class, hung out with girlfriend Buzz, and mooched off his propeller-beanied freshman roommate. But in March 1951, as his friends got drafted, Beetle enlisted (against his will). Though the move was initially resisted by Walker's syndicate, it proved a turning point in the struggling strip's popularity. Included among the still-funny gags here are appearances by early versions of the bellowing Sarge, ladies' man Killer, General Halftrack, and intellectual Plato. Background material reveals Beetle's origin as Spider, a character Walker created in 1948; several early rejected strips are included. For all collections.—S.R.
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