May 13th, 2018

Timeline – 1996 Part 1

by Mort Walker

Beetle Bailey Sunday page color proof, January 7, 1996.

For the past sixteen months, beginning on January 20, 2017 and continuing until April 28, 2018, we featured here on our web site 64 outstanding color Sunday pages from 1960 to 1975 in our Timeline series. King Features stopped sending color proofs to their artists in 1975 and for the next 20 years we received prints in black-and-white.  Beginning in 1996, King started producing color Sunday pages in a digital format.  We have decided to continue our Timeline series from that point onward.

Our first selection from 1996 was inspired by the Elvis postage stamp issued by the U.S. Postal service on January 8, 1993. Ten months earlier, beginning on April 13, 1992, the public was invited to select the artwork for this historic release.

The choice was between a watercolor of the young Elvis by artist Mark Stutzman.

The second option was a more mature Elvis painted by John Berkey.

Over 1.2 million ballots were received and the choice was clear – 75% of the voters preferred the youthful version.  The Elvis postage stamp is the most popular U.S. commemorative stamp of all time.

In the gag above, “Early Elvis” is played by Beetle, Sarge is “Later Elvis” and General Halftrack is “Dead Elvis.”  Who knew there were Elvis impersonators at Camp Swampy?

Next week we will continue our Timeline series with another classic Sunday page from 1996, so stay tooned.

– Brian Walker

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