January 17th, 2016

Winter Snow

by Brian Walker, Greg Walker and Chance Browne

Hi and Lois Sunday page, January 23, 1972. Hi and Lois Sunday page, January 23, 1972.

So far, it has been an unusually mild winter in the Northeast. Except for a few minor dustings, we have had no significant snowfall. Last winter, there were record accumulations, particularly in Boston.

The seasons provide ideal background settings for Hi and Lois and winter is no exception. Blizzards can leave the family snowbound for days and the kids often get cabin fever. School cancellations are cause for celebration. Snowmen, snowball fights sledding and skiing are favorite outdoor activities. For Chip, shoveling snow is a dreaded household chore, much like mowing the lawn in the summer and raking leaves in the fall.

The winter-themed Sunday page above is another outstanding example from Dik Browne’s classic period. The drop panel, after the title, sets the scene with a white blanket of snow on the ground and on the roofs of the houses. The added details of the cat and the birds in the foreground compliment the church steeple and the sunrise in the background.

Dot and Ditto’s excitement after discovering the snow is conveyed visually by their running and jumping around the house. Hi’s expression establishes that his response is quite different from the twins and helps to set up the final gag. “Think Snow” was a phrase popularized by skiers during that period.

One of Chance Browne’s most often-repeated mantras is “God is in the details.” Small graphic elements in his Dad’s work, like the teddy bear in the kids’ room and the sled in the last panel, are what give this page its charm. I love how Ditto pulls on his t-shirt and the way his gloves are dangling from his jacket. You get the feeling that these characters are living, breathing human beings.

We hope all of our readers appreciate the brilliance of Dik Browne’s artistry as much as we do.

– Brian Walker




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