The Sad Sack is an American fictional comic strip and comic book character created by Sgt. George Baker during World War II. Set in the United States Army, Sad Sack depicted an otherwise unnamed, lowly private experiencing some of the absurdities and humiliations of military life.
The term has come to signify a meek, inept, unmilitary serviceman who means well but blunders his way, consistently in trouble, resignedly finding the odds always against him in military life. More broadly, it is applied to a hopelessly clumsy, incompetent or inept person, or a ludicrous misfit, also called an "eight ball".
Spin-off series were:
Supporting characters included "The Sarge" (Sack's platoon sergeant, the potbellied and tough but reasonable Sergeant Circle); "Slob Slobinski" (Sack's buddy); "The General" (General Rockjaw, always drawn with dark glasses, cigarette holder and Ascot tie) "Sadie Sack" (Sad's redheaded female cousin, in the WACs), "Ol' Sod Sack," Sad's hillbilly uncle, and "Muttsy" the dog. The spin-off Sad Sack Navy, Gobs 'n' Gals had the supporting character "Gabby Gob".
The Harvey Comics and newspaper strip were aimed at younger readers than Baker's wartime originals, and the style of the strip changed dramatically. In the newspaper strip, the pantomime style was abandoned in favor of a more conventional comic-story format.
In the mid-1950s, Harvey Comics and Baker brought in Paul McCarthy to draw the Sad Sack titles, followed by Fred Rhoads, Jack O'Brien and Joe Dennett. Others who periodically drew for the titles include Warren Kremer and Ken Selig. Baker retained editorial control and continued to illustrate the covers of Sad Sack comics until his death in 1975.
At Paramount Pictures Baker's comic strip was adapted by screenwriters Edmund Beloin and Nate Monaster for George Marshall's film The Sad Sack (1957), in which WAC Major Shelton (Phyllis Kirk) has the assignment to turn bumbling Private Meredith C. Bixby (Jerry Lewis) into a good soldier. The supporting cast includes David Wayne, Peter Lorre and Joe Mantell.