Beetle Bailey, 9/22/12
I know it doesn’t pay to overthink Beetle Bailey (though I do, constantly; “Overthinking Beetle Bailey” will be the name of my autobiography), but one sign that your strip isn’t very good is that there’s really no coherent background that could explain the action we see in the first panel. Have the men of Camp Swampy been sent on a Bigfoot hunt by meddling government scientists who have somehow got the ear of top Pentagon brass? General Halftrack may not have a PhD in cryptozoology, but he still feels that he knows how likely it is that various sites might have Bigfoot infestations!
The easiest explanation is, as ever, total madness, which is to say that the most likely thing is that Halftrack is barking incoherent complaints into a bar of soap to nobody and is about to be waylaid by the weird, underimagined hallucination we see in panel two. But that’s undermined by the fact that the flat black rectangle he’s pressing to his face is a shockingly accurate depiction of a 2012-era smartphone. I mean, usually in Beetle Bailey you’d expect him to be talking into something with a huge antenna or maybe a curly phone cord trailing off to nowhere at the bottom of the panel. The presence of a recognizable piece of modern technology in this strip ought to shake you to your very core. On the other hand, it’s possible that the cellphone industry’s industrial designers have finally created objects so simple and minimalist that even Walker-Browne Amalgamated Humor Industries LLC can draw them.
Slylock Fox, 9/22/12
That’s right, kids, don’t worry about the horrifying, violent fights between your parents, the ones that always attract the attention of the police, the ones that are literally tearing your house apart. Just focus on the Six Differences. Find the Six Differences and it’ll be OK.