Dogs on Display
Posted: September 1, 2021
In a 1970 Beetle Bailey comic strip, the character Sarge scolds his dog, Otto.
“Think, Otto, think!!” Sarge says.
Otto replies, “We can’t all be Snoopy.”
This comic strip is an oldie. But dog lovers can go see it right now at the world’s largest cartoon museum at Ohio State University. It’s a dog show! Well, it’s a cartoon dog show. The exhibit shows off two centuries of dogs in cartoons.
Here’s how it started. Brad Anderson created the dog comic Marmaduke. He donated his collection of cartoons in 2018. He included 16,000 originals drawn from 1954 to 2010. Museum employees started to wonder: Just how many other dog cartoons could they dig up?
Most people seem to relate to comics about dogs. Dogs are eager. They aim to please. Their personalities make them perfect to joke about.
Otto the dog first appeared in Beetle Bailey in 1956. At first, he was a regular four-legged dog. In 1970, that changed. His artist, Mort Walker, gave him human-like qualities. Mr. Walker provided Otto with his own uniform and desk.
Exhibit viewers also see well-known dogs like Sandy from Little Orphan Annie. There’s Daisy from Blondie. There’s Dogbert from the Dilbert strip. George Booth’s scraggly New Yorker magazine cartoon dogs show up. So do Trots and Bonnie, a toon girl and her talking dog.
The exhibit also includes a video about animated dogs. Do you remember Scooby-Doo? Huckleberry Hound? Underdog, Disney’s Pluto and Goofy, or Slinky the Dog from the “Toy Story” movies? Lady and the Tramp sharing spaghetti?
And no dog story is complete without some cats. A few felines—Garfield, for example—sneak into the dog show too.