Monday, October 04, 2010

Have Your Character Hit Over The Head

Tuesday Comic Strip Day.

A week ago, the new Beetle Bailey collection from Titan should have reached the shops. I haven't seen it yet (due to the fact that I am from Europe), but it is already advertised as available from Amazon (at a very reasonable price, I may add). Sadly, this is not the book I was waiting for. I have always said that the strip went from hystericly funny to merely funny when the Sarge lost the bags under his eyes around 1963. The best years for me, are from 1956 to 1964. This volume reprints the whole of 1965. Over in Scandinavia, they are still reprinting The Complete Beetle Bailey in two year volumes, with two or three new ones appearing every year. This book takes the same format and I hope it will be as well edited as those Scandinavian ones are, with notes and extra material from the Walker Archives. I suspect it may be, since this book take sthe formt of that series (albeit in a single year form) and is edited by the very capable Brian Walker, who also did a splendid job at Checker's previous attempt to recreate the Scabdinavian series with a 1952-54 tome. Sadly, the Checker series was not the succes everyone suspected. My guess is, Checker may have thought they had a Compete Panuts sized hit on their hands, but they didn't realize that Fantagraphics spent 4 years (according to one rapport) to get those into the book stores, befoe even starting to print it. Checker had neither the money or the manpower to do that. When it came clear that The Complete Beetle Bailey was a bust, I advised Brian Walker (in one of the yahoo groups we both frequent) to restart the series at a later date, precure a lot of sales to get a foothold for the series and then expand it in both directions. I hope that is the tactic tthey are now using, although removing the subtite The Complete Beetle Bailey is a bad sign. I think people are willing to get into a series if it is complete and if new volumes appear regularely. If it is just another Beetle Bailey reprint book... well there are m=plenty of those in every second hand book store for a lot less.

Still, as a big Beetle Bailey fan I urge you to get this. It is bound to be a wunderful package and you may even support the appearance of a more substantial series. In the meantime, here are some strips from 1959 for you to enjoy...



















2 comments:

Dylanio21 said...

what a smoothly drawn strip, thanks for the post.
i love actually READING your blog too.
very knowledgable and interesting.
awesome stuff as always...

Harry Mendryk said...

I asked Steve Saffel about why 1965. He said they were looking for the point were the strip really came together. Apparently 1965 was the year the strip really broke out and was picked up by 1000 newspapers. He also added that he was reading the strips for the next volume, found them much funnier and wonders if perhaps it would have been better if they started in 1966. He also said that if the books did well they could always do the earlier strips later.