The passing of Mort Walker was a big deal in the comics world which is nearly bereft of the classic talents who helped define the genre. Walker's legacy is the reams of great work he left behind which told yarns and gags with which an enormous number of people could identify. That's the key to any success on a mass scale and Walker sure achieved that with Beetle Bailey, a comic strip and comic book character who was the military everyman.
Beetle's constant struggle to keep his own sense of integrity intact in a system which by its very design was working to make him a cog of a larger unit, was a fundamental struggle which never lost its luster after decades. Beetle's very name says it all, a man named for a bug trying to keep a sense of himself and prove he's of worth to his colleagues and those who have cast themselves as his superiors. The attitudes about and toward the military have undergone dramatic changes during the highly successful run of Beetle Bailey, but what never diminished was Mort Walker's ability to tap into that recognizable part of the fundamental human dilemma which we all share. It's the loss of that singular perspective which we should mourn as much as the man.
Here's a baker's dozen of my favorite Beetle Bailey comic book covers from across the decades and from myriad publishers.