Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Obscurity of the Day: Badge Guys

Like Beetle Bailey's army that never went to war, the Badge Guys police force never seemed to do any serious police work. They did, however, have a lot of time to ridicule a feminist female cop, while oddly enough, being progressive enough to feature a black character. Marketed under the tagline "Badge Guys -- it's not a cop-out, it's a cop-in!", the strip was intended to humanize police officers in an era when their PR was at a pretty low ebb.

The strip was added to the NEA syndicate roster on August 30 1971 after a test run in the Detroit News and Akron Beacon-Journal (can anyone supply running dates for the test run?). Art was contributed by Charles Bowen, who in the mid-60s had co-created Hagen, Fagin and O'Toole, another obscurity we'll cover someday, and who was working as an art director for an ad agency by the 1970s.

The writer was Ted Schwarz. This is his only comic strip credit, but he is a a very successful author, having written over 100 books under his own name, not counting many ghostwriting assignments. His splashiest success came under an "as told to" byline on car magnate John DeLorean's autobiography.

The Badge Guys was canceled on July 28 1973. In an unusually candid statement, NEA announced that they fired the Badge Guys when the feature finished dead last in a poll of their newspaper clients.


I remember this strip as a boy. It was featured in the Rock Island (Ill.) Argus
Charles Bowen was my father in law. We have many "letters" drawn by him and sent to his gran kids over the years. He had a particularly bright outlook on life reflected in his strips and sketches.
The Denver Rocky Mountain News picked it up in '72 and ran it for a relatively short time.
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