Posted By Art Baxter

mort_walker

Mort Walker - September 3, 1923

To celebrate Mr. Walker's birthday I would like to present to you a strip from July 1, 1973, When I first saw it in the sunday funnies the top of my head blew off. It was one of the sexiest comics I had ever seen in the paper: a topless woman strolling down the beach as seen from the back. My early teenage imagination ran wild.

It may seem hard to believe that there was a time when BEETLE BAILY was a good strip. Mr. Walker's best work on the strip may have been between 1965 and 1975. Ironically, nearly the same decade as the Viet Nam war. While Beetle was up to his old tricks stateside in Camp Swampy the rest of the GIs were in 'Nam. But anyway, BEETLE BAILY was a good strip as were others of that era from the Walker and Associates factory: HI & LOIS and BONERS ARK.

Walker's work touched on sexuality more than most strips not that it happened all that often. Mostly it was in the form of General Halftrack's lusting after and sexual harassment of his secretary, Miss Buxley or the sexual prowess of the "pussyhound" character, Killer.

beetle_baily-detail
Click HERE to view the whole strip

In this strip, the only way Beetle to get his friend Killer off his ass is to present something that just about any red-blooded heterosexual American male would stop at nothing to see: a girl's exposed tit.  And Mort, god bless him, even gives us a hint of ass crack just above the bikini line. It was just too much for my barely teen brain to process. I still find the image of the girl and the scenario pretty damn sexy, yet in some way, wholesome. Note that the rest of the seaside background becomes irrelevant and vanishes in the final panel. The girl is all. It's interesting to also note that Killer is the one with his tongue hanging out not Beetle. He is also winning. Is Beetle only in it for the exercise? Hmmm.

Why not check out this strip for Mort Walker's 85th birthday!

This comic strip is reprinted in Mort Walker's excellent, long out-of-print book on living the  cartoonist's life BACKSTAGE AT THE STRIPS. I highly reccomend it.

backstage_strips

BACKSTAGE AT THE STRIPS
by Mort Walker
A & W Visual Library
1975 - 311 pp.
ISBN: 0-89104-057-9 (SC)

BEETLE BAILY is © King Features Syndicate


 
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