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The Comic Book Fools of April – Unsung Beetle Bailey Goodness!

Every day in April I will be featuring a humorous comic (either an issue or a series of strips) that I found particularly amusing. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com the comic stories that are your favorites when it comes to hilarity, and I’ll see if I can’t feature some of them this month, as well!

Bob Gustafson was very well regarded by his peers during his lifetime (winning the National Cartoonist Society Award for Best Comic Book a whopping FOUR times over a twenty year period), but while comic book historians still think of him as one of the great comedic comic book creators, the fact that he spent most of his comic book career doing uncredited work on a comic book, Beetle Bailey, that is much more famous as a comic strip (by the great Mort Walker – Gustafson worked for Walker for years, particularly doing work for Walker’s other strip, Hi and Lois) has not made him a particularly famous comic book creator, especially since his work has not been reprinted that often (heck, I don’t know if it has EVER been reprinted). But for twenty-seven years, he did outstanding work on the Beetle Bailey comic book. So let’s take a look at all the good comedic work he did on just ONE issue of Beetle Bailey (#60 from 1969 – put out by King Comics – the Beetle Bailey license made the rounds over the years to a number of different companies)!

In the opening tale, while Lt. Fuzz is trying to convince people that he saw a UFO, Beetle and Sarge are away from camp when Beetle discovers an old pizza in the back of Sarge’s jeep…

That was a very well-crafted tale.

Here’s a cute three-pager…

Here’s a clever set-up….

The joke obviously progresses as the story continues…

Finally, here’s a one-page gag (there were a few in the issue)…

Wasn’t that a solid issue? And Gustafson wrote and drew these comics for TWENTY-SEVEN years!!!

Wow, what a talent!

So if you ever come across an old issue of Beetle Bailey (and they shouldn’t be too hard to find), give it a read, odds are you’ll enjoy it!


What, no mention of the controversial “I asked them to send me a broad” BB strip? ;)

Indeed, great stuff. Thanks fro bringing back great memories.

It was at King Comics in 1969? I only read a couple of King issues, in the early ’80s. I didn’t think they were that old.
I mostly read Beetle Bailey when Charlton did it in the ’70s. Did Gustafson write all of them? I do remember that they were usually pretty good– better than Sad Sack usually.

Wow! You know what really takes me back? Cookie and Plato are both smoking.

Huh? Really . . . huh?

BTW, I’m wondering: how come Ms. Buxley always wore a dress? Couldn’t she get fatigues instead? She’s still wearing the dress, right? Makes no sense.

Jason: I always assumed that she was supposed to be a civilian employee, rather than military personnel. Otherwise, she’d have been Private, or maybe Corporal, Buxley. (Of course, I don’t know if the military hires civilians for that kind of stuff. Probably not, now that I think about it.)

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