CHICAGO — The long-running and beloved daily newspaper comic strip Beetle Bailey will get a gritty, in-your-face reimagining starting early next year. Syndicated Comics International, the conglomerate which publishes the Beetle Bailey strip and dozens of others, announced the reboot among a slew of other changes designed to reinvigorate the flagging medium.
Citing declining ad sales and demographic research confirming the need for a change, SCI Spokesman David Blagnosticus told reporters there was a need for “some new blood” in the authorship of the strip.
“Listen, we love Beetle, Sarge, General Halftrack, Miss Buxley and the whole Beetle Bailey crew,” insisted Blagnosticus, “but the younger generation is growing up with tablets and video mashups, instant tailored and targeted content at the touch of a button, graphic and vicious violence, and hot and cold running on-demand pornography. If you want to entertain them, you best come correct.”
While grateful for the many years of service of longtime cartoonist Mort Walker, SCI announced a new team of artists led by Frank Miller.
Miller is the creator of the bloody 300 and Sin City graphic novels, in addition to many others. Miller’s work, while very popular, has earned widespread condemnation from various parent and censorship groups who claim his themes are deceptively marketed to children, with graphic novels often featuring graphic violence, nudity, drug use and profanity.
Taking the opportunity to address the reboot, Miller outlined several plots he wants to bring to Beetle Bailey in the near future.
“We’re looking at a lot of exciting new storylines. Otto will become an escaped genetic experimental war dog. Sarge and Cookie will be gay lovers, and we plan to have them conduct the first military gay marriage in comic history. Miss Buxley will have a secret heroin addiction, and the love triangle between her and Zero and Beetle will get a lot more sexual and dirty — our goal there is to bring hardcore pornographic comics to mainstream small-town daily newspapers.”
“And of course, let’s not forget about Beetle himself,” Miller continued. “The new Beetle has just returned from his fifth deployment since 9/11. He’s twice-divorced and has a son who hates him for always being off at war. He’s an alcoholic, suicidal, he has impulse-control problems and is covered with tattoos memorializing all the buddies he’s lost. He gets into bar fights. He hits his girlfriend. He goes to prostitutes. War is all he knows, and he’s unsure if he can make it in the real world. In short, Beetle will become a lot more true-to-life, and hopefully he can humanize our returning service members for American civilian society, most of which has been largely unaware that two huge wars have been going on for the last decade.”
The new Beetle Bailey strips will start running in newspapers in January 2014. Some papers are already planning to require a valid photo ID to purchase the comics section.
“Change is always scary,” Miller said. “But there many people out there who have always wondered when Beetle Bailey was going to get good. When is General Halftrack going to run over Lt. Fuzz while driving drunk? When is Cookie going to give Sarge a Kansas City Weedeater in the chow hall’s walk-in freezer? When is Miss Buxley going to let the platoon run a train on her? When the hell is Beetle going to go full Kurtz and murder the shit out of some Iraqis?”
Indeed, Miller says, Syndicated Comics heard your cries. “Stay tuned—this will not be your grandfather’s Beetle Bailey.”
Check out After Action with Max & Paul, an awesome new podcast featuring the creators of Terminal Lance and Duffel Blog.