Thursday, April 02, 2020


Bwah, you can tell that I have been IMMERSING myself in all sortsa BEETLE BAILEY-related fun and jamz these past few months, from old paperbacks and various oversized collections to animated cartoons and even a life-size Miss Buxley lovedoll? However I gotta say that I really was hungerin' for some of the older Bailey material, mostly the ones that came from the non-reprinted late-fifties until the mid-sixties change-over when Sarge got rid of the bags under his eyes and the soldiers began wearing baseball caps instead of those weird rectangular headwear they had for quite some time. And other'n a few examples splattered here and there in the paperbacks as well as those that are there to "represent" that period in various BEETLE history-type collections these strips are harder to come by than feminine hygiene books in Pago Pago

Thanks to Brad Kohler's nice Christmas offering of an Amazon gift card, I was able to splurge on this book which I thought would fill in some of those missing BEETLE gaps. It sure looked swell what with its sturdier than the usual paperback size and overall quality, kinda reminding me of those old Holt Rinehart and Winston PEANUTS books I used to get for my birthday when I was still in my single digits. Given the book's rather generous thickness, I had the sneakin' suspicion that perhaps this tome would pack a good year or so's worth of BEETLE dailies circa. 1957 in, and like I said when it comes to these strips (as well as plenty others that popped up throughout the Golden Years of Comic Page Suburban Slobbery) I really can't get my fill of the best from DICK TRACY to ARCHIE and of course the perennial fave NANCY.

But when it comes to comic collection rip offs I gotta say that BEETLE BAILEY AND SARGE really does take the ol' proverbial cake and throws it smack dab into Lt. Fuzz's face! Not that it's a turdburger by any stretch of the imagination, but ya'd kinda think that Dell Books woulda been able to do a BAILEY collection the right way and not as some toss-out that really was a gyp for the late-fifties when a whole dollar shoulda gotten the reader more'n what transpires here.

BEETLE BAILEY AND SARGE not only reprints those newspaper comics that I've been waiting to read for quite some time but all-new material. Now this may sound like a bargain, but these ne'er before seen offerings are but mere comic panels, the kind that Mort Walker got his professional start with right after he checked outta World War II and was struggling in his quest to take on the newer portion of the twentieth century comic pages just like Charles Schulz and Hank Ketcham. In other words kind of a big disappointment for a fifties-era comic strip obsessive such as I. Judging from the the long, thin pen style these newer BEETLEs were done right when the book was published which ain't bad, but each panel takes up an entire page which adds up to MAJOR SPACE WASTE on all accounts. An' all I can do is think about that late-fifties kiddo who probably hadda work hours on end to earn that dollar to buy this book only to get home and find out that for all intent purposes this really was a waste of the ol' dough that could have bought him a WHOLE LOT!

I'll bet'cher sayin' a deep and hardy SO WHAT, because ya still have those great and not reprinted since BEETLE BAILEYs to have, hold and cherish in the privacy of your fart-encrusted bedroom. Well that is true,  but in a fit of somethingorother whoever it was that put this book together once again felt it proper to reprint one strip per page when it's obvious that two of 'em coulda been crammed in thus giving those BEETLE-loving kids more bang for their buck!  If I could go back in time and warn the children who were buying books like this I would definitely tell 'em to HALT! Go buy somd Fawcett or Ballantine MAD paperback or just about any comic strip paperback available for thirty-five cents for more laff thrills than you'll get outta an obvious toss out like this! And let's hope that a prospective BEETLE BAILEY anthology will make its way to our hermit caves before we all either die out or go blind from staring at NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC hula girl issues for way too long.


MoeLarryAndJesus said...

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but there's really only one Beetle Bailey anthology. They just move all the individual installments around so you'll keep buying them.

Anonymous said...

Beetle Bailey? Classic Americana! Keep 'em comin', Chris! Cheers! Alvin Bishop