Thursday, July 9, 2009

Family Circus = Funny?

I rip on Bill Keane's Pwecious daily comic a lot but that's because it deserves it. It's one of the most inane gag inducing dinosaur comics that still survives because it makes old ladies chuckle over their daily glasses of prune juice. But did you know that when it first started way back in the 1960s it was actually sort of funny? Maybe not laugh out loud funny but amusing in a surprisingly subversive way. Check out these ones I pulled from the official Family Circus website:

Holy heck! Check out the Dad character! He's a misogynistic drunk who smokes! By the 70s though he's already the white toast heap of bland he is today, which is pretty much true of the comic itself, although the art was still better than it is today:

Is it wrong that I think the mom is actually kind of hot in this one?:

Here's the 80s:

What the Hell does that even mean?
I hate Billy so much, I'd gladly feed him gruel. Maybe he'd stop being such an annoying smartass.

This comic makes me want to set things on fire:

Alright, thats about all the Family Circus I can stand in one sitting. I have a Marmaduke book from the late 60s that I got at a garage sale. Did you know it used to be made by two people? And the jokes were just as lame as they are today! If I had a scanner I'd post some up, it's really incredible how it's survived so long.


Ignatz said...

I'm back from my 3-day haitus!

I've thought of Family Circus as a strange "folk comic strip", if that makes sense. It's not funny, subtle, or witty, but to people who take it for more than what it is (like me), it can be taken in a surreal manner (this is much more effective on Nancy, which I love, as opposed to this, which I don't like). That's not how the creator of it intends it to be taken, but that's how I look at it. What do you think?

Kurdt said...

Ya know, I was thinking about pretty much the same thing after I posted this. Strips like Family Circus and Marmaduke are so lame and not even the least bit clever but I still read them everyday along with better comics like Cul De Sac and Lio. I suppose you could think of comics like Marmaduke and FC as existing in some alternate poorly drawn reality. Marmaduke is interesting because you can read it as Marm is really a jerk that ruins everything for his family.

Oh and if you can find early Dennis the Menace, give them a look. Dennis really used to be a snotty little brat!

Anonymous said...

Bil Keane?

As in, brother to Disney animation super-God Glen Keane, responsible for the character design and supervising animator of The Beast, Aladdin, Tarzan, and other such characters Bil Keane?

Or some other Bil Keane entirely?