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26 August 2010 @ 09:47 pm
Historic Camp Swampy  
There are worse things to wish for than to wish all our Army bases were as peaceful and uneventful as this one, where the worst crisis was Lt Fuzz measuring Sarge's desk to make sure it wasn't bigger than his own, where a bulldog in a uniform could get a beer with no problem, where Beetle was still deep asleep as the inspecting officer came in the door..

And here is a little biography of himself and his work that Mort Walker produced in 1957. I was fond of BEETLE BAILEY and HI AND LOIS. Neither strip had flashes of inspired genius that made you clip them out and save them inside a favorite book, but they were always enjoyable and good-natured; and I liked the way Walker understood the conventions of comics, the way three lines and a puff of smoke meant one thing behind a person and another when placed overhead, that he liked experimenting with them. I wouldn't mind a big softcover reprint of early BEETLE BAILEY from before my time...
full_metal_ox on August 27th, 2010 02:00 am (UTC)
Indeed, Walker was the Linnaeus of comics terminology; it was he who codified and created a systematic vocabulary to describe many stock cartoon devices: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lexicon_of_Comicana

(A detail Walker leaves out of this mini-autobiography is that Hi and Lois are Beetle's brother-in-law and sister; Wold-Newtonians take note.)
dferguson on August 27th, 2010 02:27 am (UTC)
Thanks for the info on the relationship between Beetle and Lois. For years I'd heard that they were brother and sister and on occasion, Beetle would even show up in the HI AND LOIS strip but I always thought it was hamfat.

Now here's one I'd like to know: what was Beetle's first name, really? Or was Beetle his real name?
dr_hermes on August 27th, 2010 02:45 am (UTC)
Walker's names for comics devices are just perfect! Agitrons. Solrads. He had a gift for naming those things. Thanks for the link.

I have never seen a real name given for Beetle (although when the strip started as a college setting, he was called 'Spider,'). And the only time I've seen his eyes and forehead revealed was in an unpublished strip shown in some articles. Not a pretty sight.
full_metal_ox on August 27th, 2010 02:49 am (UTC)
...I take it he was beetle-browed?
dr_hermes on August 27th, 2010 02:56 am (UTC)
Hee. No, but he had two little dots for eyes under his bangs. Kind of unsettling.
full_metal_ox on August 27th, 2010 02:49 am (UTC)
Beetle was apparently known as "Spider" in college before he joined the Army, and his younger brother Chigger has shown up in the strip; make of that what you will.