"The Family Circus" requires a lot of imagination to fully enjoy it.
That statement is absolutely false, by the way.
Last night my friend Chloe and I had a passionate conversation about 89-year-old cartoonist Bil Keane's mesmerizing bagel-sized bore-fest of a funny comic, "The Family Circus".
Both of us, as well as millions of similar confused humans, have always been strangely attracted to the one-panel comic's fascinating banality, much in the same way we might be attracted to someone scrubbing their forearms with steel wool in public.
After swimming together though a sea of emotions that ranged from anger and bemusement, to nostalgia and frustrating warmth, we effortlessly moved on in our conversation, probably to issues that are equally as important, like dressing up animals in other animal costumes, mean blind people, purposely erasing parts of our memory to play jokes on ourselves, and eating waffles with cheese.
Little did we know that unfortunately, this morning, mere hours after our discussion, Bil Keane passed away.
Before investigating, the thought DID occur to me that perhaps we talked about him so hard that his ears rang loudly enough to explode his head.
But luckily we didn't murder him with cell-phone signals, speech, and telepathic mind bullets.
Nonetheless, I feel obligated to mention his passing and the death of something that, like it or not, has been a part of our eyeballs and hearts for….ever.
What are we gonna stare at angrily in the corner of the newspaper now? Well, my best guess: "IDA KNOW".
So in an homage to Mr. Keane and his universe of vapid family repetition, here is an old "Family Circus" parody I drew a few years back as part of my "BUNNYWITH.." Comic Series. Without Bil Keane, I would have never had the urge to draw a severed head on a rabbit dick. So thanks, BIL!!
Now, additionally in our conversation, we also brought up "Garfield Minus Garfield", a parody strip by Dan Walsh where Garfield is removed from each panel, making all of the other characters seem utterly insane. We discussed how funny it would be if we completely ripped off that idea, but instead of just removing one character, we would remove the entire comic and punchline, since neither of them EVER really were the major attraction to the comic strip. Knowing what every character, setting, and situation that have been explored throughout the 786 years that The Family Circus has been around is enough ammo to jostle our imaginations as to what the cartoon would look like if we made up our own mundane punchlines to go along with a blank panel. Sound convoluted and stupid? Well….you see the parallels, right?
Whatever, we thought it was funny at 2:30 in the morning last night, so hearing the news today made me try it out, and guess what? HILARIOUS.
Pretty soon I'm just going to destroy my entire house and erase my memory and laugh maniacally in my own imagination, because that's pretty much where I think I'm heading.