Beetle Goes Beetling On

Posted by on January 6th, 2011 at 2:55 PM

One of the finer ironies in comics history occurred yesterday at the New York Daily News, where, as we trumpeted here two days ago, the editorial powers have decided to stop publishing Mort Walker’s Beetle Bailey, one of the great all-audience satirical comic strips in the history of the medium. Cessation commenced on Sunday, January 2.

On Monday in the daily line-up, we saw Beetle’s replacement, Red and Rover, Brian Basset’s feel-good strip about a 10-year-old boy and his faithful hound. The two of them on Monday commenced a week-long series in which Red is sculpting comic strip figures in snow. The first was Hagar. Tuesday, it was Snoopy. Then on Wednesday, January 5, the snow sculptures are of Beetle Bailey and Sarge! (You can find the entire week at GoComics.com.)

The Daily News editors must’ve felt they couldn’t escape Beetle: even after cancelling the strip, Beetle (and Sarge) come back to haunt the comics page. They are so much a part of Americana that other comic strips can use them and know that they’ll be recognized.

Well, the Daily News honchos didn’t want to remind their readers that Beetle had slipped away in the night, so they didn’t run Red and Rover for January 5; instead, they used a Red and Rover strip from December 30 about a snowman and a fire hydrant.

Fiendish, those editors.

And not very funny either, usually. But this time, they’re hilarious.

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