July 4th, 2013

Graphic Pyrotechnics

by Brian Walker, Greg Walker and Chance Browne

The Fourth of July provides a unique opportunity to experiment with distinctive special effects in Hi and Lois.  Fireworks are challenging to render in a two-dimensional graphic medium.  Stars, speed lines, smoke clouds, sound effects and bright colors are among the tools that cartoonists use to create the illusion of exploding pyrotechnics.

Dik Browne was up to the task in this classic Sunday page from 1962.

Hi and Lois Sunday page, July 1, 1962. Hi and Lois Sunday page, July 1, 1962.

This is another example of Dik’s amazing composition and story-telling skills.  The close-up of Trixie when she is exposed to the opening BOOM in the third panel, the shading of the crowd in the fourth panel, the silhouettes in the fifth panel and the spectacular finale in the sixth panel, all build up to the closing conversation and Trixie’s punch line.

Here is a Fourth of July Sunday page from thirty-seven years later.

Hi and Lois Sunday page, July 4, 1999. Hi and Lois Sunday page, July 4, 1999.

In the drop panel, Chance Browne featured the Aldrich Museum, which is a contemporary art museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, not far from his home in Wilton.

Chance made effective use of blacks to establish the nighttime scene in this episode, which provides a dramatic contrast to the explosions and sound effects.   The wide-eyed wonder on Trixie’s face helps to express her emotional response to the loud noises at the end.

We hope you have enjoyed these colorful holiday Sunday pages and we wish everyone a safe and fun-filled Independence Day!

– Brian Walker

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