Comic collection review: Beetle Bailey 1965 by Mort Walker


Titan books once again today with the release of the Beetle Bailey 1965 collection.  You can get it here:

I have always loved Beetle Bailey.  He is one of the first characters I read as a kid when I bought a paperback collection in a gift shop in Williamsburg, Virginia while on a vacation.  I remember reading that book dozens of times and drawing all the characters.  This is not the first collection, there is one from the first year of Beetle Bailey back from 1950-1951 which includes his college years.  I have that volume actually signed by Mort Walker himself.

It seemed weird that they would jump 15 years ahead and release this volume from 1965 and the following one from 1966 and then stop.  So we have three volume which try to establish a collection of a comic which is over 65 years old.  It is a puzzling exercise in publishing.  I would love a complete collection of Beetle Bailey in much the same fashion as the Peanuts did.  I would buy them all in a minute.

This volume is important in the Beetle Bailey comic because it is the first time that Walker introduced continuity into his strip.  It happened a few times, but this was the first time it happened.  I am of course talking about the famous Christmas vacation trip that Beetle takes with Sarge and the gang to come home for Christmas.

Mort Walker has mixed feelings about this storyline, but I thought it was one of the best moments in my memory of Beetle Bailey.  It showed a lot of character development and went on to play as a running gag for years as Beetle would throw that in Sarge’s face to get out of trouble.

There were a few more continuity storylines over the years, but Beetle Bailey is and will always be more of a gag a day strip.  Again, I would love them to put together a compilation of all of Beetle Bailey and I call upon the massive influence of the Root Beer Party to help get this done.  WHAT DO WE WANT?????  THE COMPLETE BEETLE BAILEY!!!!!  WHEN DO WE WANT IT????? NOW!!!!!

I can’t recommend this volume enough.  Beetle Bailey and Garfield are the comic strips that I first fell in love with and they will always have a place in my heart, so buy this book and demand that there be many more to follow.  Until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

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