A Family Connection

By Jeremy Meltingtallow

Hi and Lois Sunday page, February 24, 2002. Hi and Lois Sunday page, February 24, 2002.

This Hi and Lois Sunday page was a tribute to Bil Keane’s Family Circus.

Keane’s original round panel was called Family Circle when it debuted on February 29, 1960, but Keane had to change the name six months later because there was a magazine with the same name.

The Family Circus Sunday page often features a large, detailed drawing. The kids are shown commenting on a single subject in a multi-balloon format or having elaborate fantasies that are revealed in a single dream balloon.

Keane frequently drew aerial views of the neighborhood showing Billy’s wanderings with a dotted line. This idea has been recycled many times and is a favorite with readers. The earliest appearance of the dotted line was on April 8, 1962 (an un-dotted path first appeared on February 25). Below is a classic example of a dotted line Sunday page.

The Family Circus, August 8, 1989. The Family Circus, August 8, 1989.

In an interview, Jeff Keane, who now produces the strip, says he creates the line by drawing one continuous black line and then breaking it into segments with white.

We hope our readers enjoy this popular comic feature almost as much as they appreciate Hi and Lois.

– Brian Walker