The funnies lost another grand old man today with the passing of Bil Keane, creator of The Family Circus. Family Circus, along with Peanuts, was one of the very first comic strips I remember ever reading...but though my fondness for Schulz's masterpiece grew and grew over time, I really soured on Keane's work as the years went by, as it seemed to lose every bit of its edge and descended into endlessly repetitive jokes and treacly, Extreme Home Makeover-esque forced sentimentality. Still, the first 20 years or so, as good a run as anyone could ever hope for, were often brilliant, helped by the fact that the kids came across as real kids (ie. sociopathic little bastards) rather than the type of children you'd find on greeting cards.
I even managed to work one of Keane's tropes into one of my odder Savage Love illos a few years ago, in response to a letter from a reader who surmised her boyfriend must be cheating on her, as the supply of condoms in the house always seemed to be running low. Not Me, indeed!
Rest in Peace, Mr. Keane!