When the war was over and the guys were back to shaving every day, the editor thought the Beetle Bailey strips were hurting their disciplinary efforts to get the guys back to routine.
When I write 'Beetle Bailey,' I can always do jokes about him being lazy, and everyone gets it.
Beetle Bailey is actually me, in uniform. I've got about 20 characters, and they're all after friends of mine.
Humor strips dominated what were called the funny papers early in the century, but by the 1920s and '30s, adventure strips had taken over. With 'Beetle Bailey,' I revived the funny part of the funny papers, and I'd be proud to be remembered for that.
I took Beetle home thinking that after the Korean War was over, I would have to take him out of the Army. I thought, well, what am I going to do with him?
Most people are sort of against authority. Here's Beetle always challenging authority. I think people relate to it.
The frustration of being ordered around by somebody to do something - everyone can relate to that. I think Beetle represents that - the common man caught in that morass of rules and regulations. I don't even think of it as an army strip... it's a world anyone can understand.
Belly buttons were a big battle of mine. Down at the syndicate, they would clip them out with a razor blade. I began putting so many of them in, in the margins and everywhere, that they had a little box down there called 'Beetle Bailey''s Belly-Button Box. The editors finally gave up after I did one strip showing a delivery of navel oranges.
Beetle is the embodiment of everybody's resistance to authority, all the rules and regulations which you've got to follow. He deals with it in his own way. And in a way, it's sort of what I did when I was in the Army. I just oftentimes did what I wanted to do.
Old cartoonists never retire, they just erase away.
I've always said that what cartoonists do is create friends for readers.
Laughter is the brush that sweeps away the cobwebs of your heart.
You learn just by trying and experimenting. By the time I was 14, I had my own comic strip in the Kansas City paper.
I say, if you believe what you read in the comic strips, then you believe that mice run around with little gold buttons on their red pants and drive cars.
About the only way you can find out about the common man, his slang, what he looked like, what he thought, is through the comic strips. It's a powerful way for young people to learn history.
You can go through comic strips alone and study the common man. You can trace our history.
I took my basic training on a golf course in Florida. Then I was on the boxing team. We did some demonstrations, and they put me in a theater one night and wanted me to box. So OK, I came out boxing with a friend - thinking we would just spar around - but the guy walked out, hit me, and knocked me out with one stroke.
When I introduced a black soldier, Lt. Flap, in 1971, the Stars and Stripes banned the strip. They were having racial problems and thought it would increase the tensions.
I like a happy ending. That's what I do all the time. I like to make people feel happy.
At one time Tribune Syndicate emptied out their storeroom. They put tables full of original cartoons down in the lobby and said take one if you want one. The comics were simply a burden to them.