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Beetle Bailey, 10/17/09

In the early days of this blog, I poured scorn on Sally Forth for accepting product placement money from progressive rock legends Rush. In the subsequent years, however, as the newspaper business has imploded and the comics industry upon which I have come to rely has been brought ever closer to extinction, I’ve rethought my position on nontraditional revenue-generating strategies. For instance, Beetle Bailey is both a hilarious comic that will provide a much-needed laugh over your morning coffee and a brand that is highly trusted by the coveted 55-to-80 demographic. So, when Sarge admits that his recurrent incontinence causes him to shun social situations or long trips into unfamiliar territories, that would have been a great time to open up a conversation with readers about Detrol, or Lyrinel XL, or, you know, whoever’s willing to pay more. Not only would this have been both lucrative for the holders of the intellectual property rights pertaining to Beetle Bailey and educational for consumers, it also would have replaced a baffling and distasteful punchline about Otto carrying his urine-soaked fire hydrant around with him.

Mark Trail, 10/17/09

Poachy McSideburns is proving himself the master of the at once obvious and profound question about Mark Trail. “How did he stay alive?” touched on matters both biological and philosophical; today’s “Is he a wild-life man?” gets right to the paradox at the heart of this strip. Mark is clean-cut, straight-arrow, not a hair out of place; yet he is more in tune with the natural world than he is with the experiences of those of us living in so-called “civilization.” Is he “man,” or is he “wild-life”? How does he reconcile these two different parts of his essence? We should all offer thanks to our yellow-shirted philosopher of the swamp, before he’s punched into submission.