Robot 6

‘Beetle Bailey’ falls victim to military budget cuts

beetle bailey

After 63 years, military cutbacks have finally hit Camp Swampy.

Stars and Stripes, the newspaper serving the U.S. military community, announced this week it has dropped Mort Walker’s Beetle Bailey from its daily print edition as the average number of pages shrinks from 40 to 32 due to a number of financial factors that include Department of Defense sequestration cuts and a declining readership.

The newspaper also expects to eliminate an estimated 40 staff positions worldwide next year amid a reduction in print operations “as it tries to accelerate a shift toward digital distribution.”

The more immediate, and noticeable, losses include Beetle Bailey, which will continue to appear in the weekend edition, along with (by my count) 15 other comic strips — among them, Garfield, Zits, B.C., Over the Hedge, Baby Blues and Speed Bump. Dilbert, Doonesbury, Pearls Before Swine and Get Fuzzy are among the eight survivors. The Sunday comics section will be reduced from 16 pages to eight, but there’s no indication yet which strips made the cut.

Other Stars and Stripes features were also eliminated: Dear Abby, Sudoku, Scripps-Howard News Service articles, and syndicated opinion writers Clarence Page and Jack Kelly, for starters.

Newspaper executives say the changes were expected, and fall within a plan they’ve been working on for five years. The future, they say, is digital, where readership has been experiencing double-digit readership growth.



I enjoyed Beetle Bailey as a kid. Mort Walker was fun to read. Along with Beetle Bailey, I read Boner’s Ark, Hi and Lois, Broom Hilda and Dondi. When I was really little I was into Pogo, I had no idea just how political that cartoon was until it was brought back years later. I thought it was a funny animal cartoon…

I don’t read newspaper comic strips anymore. I haven’t since Calvin and Hobbes ended. Doonesbury isn’t as fun as it used to be.

I read my news online and I have a handful of webcomics I read. None of them are newspaper comic strips. I’d like to say that it’s a shame that this strip is being dropped, but the future is digital.

Brian from Canada

October 2, 2013 at 3:11 pm

This is so sad.

Hopefully, King Features can make a deal to get it into the digital edition; it’s already digital on King Features’ website.

This is terrible! For Stars and Stripes to drop Beetle Bailey again!!!! Stars and Stripes dropped Beetle Bailey previously-in 1954. According to its creator Mort Walker, “The brass felt Beetle Bailey wasn’t helping their program. Beetle was making fun of authority and romanticizing foot-dragging. From this myopic point of view, Beetle had to go.”
Actually it backfired. Stars and Stripes ban prompted stateside newspapers to pick up Beetle Bailey for those who had friends or family serving in the armed forces. Walker’s book, The Best of Beetle Bailey, even featured reprints of ads from King Features Syndicate, encouraging newspapers readers to encourage their publications to start running Beetle Bailey.. According to Walker, that ad campaign did wonders for the popularity of Beetle Bailey.

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