I quite enjoyed this story by Tim Vanderburg, a guest blogger at Pop Candy. Tim recalls how by writing a piece of fan mail, he became influential in updating the mom’s hairstyle in the comic strip, “The Family Circus.”
Just a sweet read.
As a child, I learned how to draw by opening the newspaper and imitating the likes of Beetle Bailey, Hagar the Horrible, Peanuts, Family Circus, Andy Capp, and more (though, sorry, never Mark Trail). Later when I had children, it was back to the comic strips and a table strewn with magic markers. Like Tim, I guess I have a connection to those comics that’s deeper than maybe I realized, in that they connect to simpler times, the physical pleasure of a hand moving across a white page, and something of innocence lost.
I remember when I first “got” Bill Keane’s “Family Circus” in a minor-key, eureka moment. I mean, I had always read the strip, liked it more or less, but never found it particularly funny. Keane, I suddenly understood, wasn’t after funny. He wasn’t trying to get a laugh. Instead, Keane pursued a slice-of-life moment of recognition. Nostalgia based on reflection, appreciation. Keane didn’t seek a laugh so much as the nod of affirmation: Yes, that’s life, I’m paddling in that crazy boat, too. He shows us our world.
Anyway, researching this little post, I came across The Nietzsche Family Circus. It pairs a randomized Family Circus cartoon with a randomized quote from everybody’s favorite comedian, that borscht belt funnyman, Friedrich Nietzsche.
You can go here to check it out, and click the “refresh” icon to see new combinations of cosmic cleverness. Gosh, sometimes the interwebs can be so joyously weird. I’m going to renew my free subscription!
The higher we soar the smaller we appear
to those who cannot fly.