July 17th, 2016
by Mort Walker
By 1968, when the King Features sales brochure shown above and below was produced, the circulation of Beetle Bailey had reached 1100 subscribers. It was the second most successful strip in the business, after Blondie.
“What is the secret of Beetle Bailey’s popularity?” the text inside the brochure asked. The answer to that question followed. “He hilariously exemplifies everything a G.I. should not be…has every quality it takes to win his own private war with the Army.”
The selection of classic strips showed examples of Beetle’s “qualities,” which included: “Initiative…Ability…Cooperation…Respect…Confidence…Perseverance…Courage… Sincerity…Enthusiasm…Leadership…Diligence…Devotion to Duty.”
The final sales pitch at the bottom of the brochure posed a challenge to potential clients: “With all these rib-tickling ‘plus’ qualities, shouldn’t Beetle Bailey be building family-wide readership in your comics line-up?”
This logic must have been convincing as the circulation of the strip continued to climb. Stay tooned for the next chapter in Mort Walker’s remarkable rise to success.
– Brian Walker
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