Thursday, April 30, 2020

Review of "Who’s In Charge Here, Beetle Bailey," by Mort Walker

Review of

Who’s In Charge Here, Beetle Bailey, by Mort Walker ISBN 0448169320

Four out of five stars

 Beetle Bailey was a comic strip that appeared in the local paper when I was a child and I never missed it. The characters from Beetle Bailey through Sergeant Snorkel and the buxom Miss Buxley to the idiot Zero were all exaggerated to make the point. The strip also included the black Lieutenant Flap, he made his first appearance in 1971 and is presented as just another officer.

 This is demonstrated on the fifth page. The camp chaplain asks Beetle, “Do the men feel differently about Lt. Flap because he’s black?” Beetle responds, “Heck no, chaplain. We think he’s just as big a pain as any other officer.” In other words, rank overpowers skin color. A powerful message for the early seventies.

 This book is a joyous look back at one of the best parodies of army life. Fans of the television show M*A*S*H will recognize many of the basic points of humor.

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