April 29th, 2017
by Brian Walker, Greg Walker and Chance Browne
Hi and Lois Sunday page color proof, July 21, 1963.
This is another classic episode from one of the prime periods in the 63-year run of Hi and Lois. It is always a breath of fresh air when the Flagstons take a one-day vacation from their routine home life. These excursions also give the creators an opportunity to explore different scenery and situations.
Dik Browne was at the peak of his artistic powers when he illustrated this page. Panels two, three, four and eight are crowd scenes that must have been challenging to compose. The hyper activity of the kids in panel two provides a contrast to the serene poses of the teenagers in the final panel. The close up of Hi and Lois in panel six provides a well-timed break in the flow of the story. The secondary characters, particularly the babysitter Emily, are distinctive. The balanced color choices and details like the flower pattern on Hi’s shirt all contribute to making this a masterpiece of graphic design.
At the end, Lois makes an observation that goes beyond delivering a simple punchline in a comic strip. Hi and Lois are young parents who are raising four children. The high school kids lying on the beach remind them of their own age of innocence before they started their family. This is the kind of writing that makes the reader stop and think for a moment. Hi and Lois has been successful because people see themselves in the characters.
Stay tooned for more classic episodes from the 1960s in our Timeline series.
– Brian Walker
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