Bil Keane 1922-2011

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!


dylanio21 said...

I love your work, just the right amount of background, a great little blurb, I even love your signature. Great stuff all around.
Can't wait to see more and more as always.

Robert Ullman said...

Aww, thanks, Dylan!

strugglingwriter said...

Hey, you were featured on Boing Boing because of this post. Cool!

I have fond memories of Family Circus because it was my Grandma's favorite. We'd visit them on Sundays and they always had a Sunday paper and she would always talk about how cute the strip was.


Anonymous said...

This seems like less of a (not so) fond farewell to Bill Keane, and more of an odd way for the author to work in some of his odd cartoons.

Robert Ullman said...

Hey, Anonymous, it's not a eulogy or obituary, it's a personal anecdote. If you don't like it, read the New York Times.

T.M.K. said...

The author's odd cartoons kick ass, where as you, Mr. Anonymous, can suck a bag of dicks!

Terence M.K.

AND, it's not "odd", it's lurid! Read the banner, fucktard!!