Comic Legends: How Beetle Bailey Was Forced to Transform Miss Buxley

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and sixty-fourth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Click here for Part 1 of this week's legends.


Mort Walker was forced to change Miss Buxley's appearance in Beetle Bailey.



Mort Walker passed away this weekend at 94 years old. Walker was the famous cartoonist behind Beetle Bailey and (with Dik Browne) its popular spin-off strip, Hi and Lois. Walker was a champion of the comic book art form. He founded the Cartoon Art Museum in the 1970s. He was a great lover of comic art and a vocal supporter.

However, it is difficult to discuss Walker without talking about how irascible he was, as well. This is not a shot at the guy, as he was very open about this side of his personality. He embraced it fully. Over the years, Walker would come up with racy Beetle Bailey strip ideas that he knew would never be approved by his syndicate. He would sketch them out anyways to amuse himself and his friends. I featured this in a Comic Book Legends Revealed years ago (it was even collected into a book in Sweden, where they are more tolerant of racy stuff).

Walker's love of racy characters, though, ended up causing a bit of a problem with the introduction of a new secretary for General Halftrack in 1971 named Miss Buxley.

Right away, Halftrack was super creepy towards Buxley...

She was a very minor character at first, but people began to request her to appear more often and so Walker increased her appearances, and most of them involved her essentially being a ditzy blonde who wore revealing clothing that was there for Halftrack to ogle at...

However, as the 1970s ended, Walker began to get a lot of criticism over his depiction of Buxley.

At first, Walker tried to lean into it, by even coming out with a book in 1982 about the criticism over Huxley...

However, papers began to receive so much criticism that they began to pull strips that had Huxley in them and some even dropped the strip entirely.

So in 1984, Walker altered Buxley's look, making her wear a less form-fitting dress (Either black or red) that was not low cut. That's been her look ever since.

However, the jokes continued to be about Halftrack lusting after Buxley.

Walker would also sell naked drawings of Buxley to people up until the early 1990s!

Finally, in the 1990s, Walker had had enough pressure over the issue that he had Halftrack attend sensitivity training and the jokes changed going forward.

Even in recent years, though, there has been more than a few jokes about Buxley's appearance...

Mostly, though, she's just there to be Beetle's girlfriend.

Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed - Did the Wachowskis risk their entire initial budget for the Matrix on just the opening scene to get Warner Bros. to fund a bigger budget?

Part 3 will be up soon! Feel free to write in with suggestions for future legends to either cronb01@aol.com or brianc@cbr.com!

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