Timeline – 1998 Part 2

By Jeremy Meltingtallow

Hi and Lois Sunday page digital proof, June 7, 1998.

This is one of my favorite pages from the late 1990s.  It was reproduced in the 2005 book Hi and Lois Sunday Best.  The original art was also featured in the 2014 exhibition King of the Comics at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum in Columbus, Ohio and is now in their permanent collection.

Here is what the original looks like.

It documents a typical summer day in the life of Ditto Flagston.  Chance Browne displays his gift for composition in thirteen mini-scenes that show Ditto jumping out of bed in the morning, packing his gear, fishing in a stream, swinging on a tree limb, shooting hoops, tubing in a lake, climbing a cliff, throwing a Frisbee, resting in a field and, finally, heading home for dinner.  The panel shapes are varied which gives the page an interesting appearance overall.  Very few strips in newspapers today feature such a wealth of backgrounds and settings.

Although Eric Reaves now does the coloring for the strip on his computer, 20 years ago when this page was created, the process was different.  Below is the color guide that Chance did for the King Features production crew.

The numbers correspond to colors in the Pantone system.  His note, “fades and airbrushing encouraged wherever you feel it gives depth to the page” was evidently followed in many of the panels, particularly in the morning, afternoon and evening skies.

Chance definitely “plussed” a relatively simple gag.

Our Timeline series will continue in 1998 next week so be sure to check back.

– Brian Walker