Beetle Bailey drafts a cyberwhiz

Mort Walker, the cartoonist who created Beetle Bailey, unveiled his new military high-tech character at the FOSE 2002 show in Washington.

An Army information technology officer is signing up with the Camp Swampy crew to become a permanent part of the Beetle Bailey comic strip.

Will the IT officer become Sarge's constant dining companion? Miss Buxley's new love interest? Beetle's foil? Will he bring new tech savvy to the gang? Only time will tell, but first there is the matter of a name.

Strip creator Mort Walker launched a naming contest for the new character at the FOSE 2002 trade show last month. The character will make a nameless debut in May, announcing the contest to readers. The contest will continue until mid-July.

Walker will choose the winner, whose name will be mentioned in the first cartoon featuring the new character's name.

Walker also is planning on launching a Web site in April dedicated to the naming contest. In the meantime, he is taking suggestions via his Web site, http://www.mortwalker.com.

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