Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Family Circus Isn't Funny

Remember back in the good old days of the newspaper comics, when Gary Larson would every now and then publish a Far Side that was utterly bewildering to anybody who's never been dropped on their head. I think this Family Circus is Bil Keane's homage to a master.... The only thing is that with Larson, even when you couldn't figure out why the comic was funny, you at least knew where the joke was supposed to be. This Family Circus is... uh...

Well, in semiotic terms, the drink signifies... No, that doesn't work.

But in context...

It's like Keane was smoking hash one day and drew up this brilliant anti-comic epitome of The Family Circus. Where there's normally an observation of Jeffy's limited grasp of some common English phrase, instead Keane filled his circle with the most extreme, anodyne scene possible. A modern artist would invite the audience's participation and interpretation, but since I have no interest in the characters, Jeffy and his perpetual look of shock, or his father whats-his-name with the missing eyes, I'm starting to wonder if Keane's not testing me. I think he wants vindication, proof that anyone not chuckling at Jeffy pestering the Lord to bless his Spiderman action figure is a sexual deviant raping American values and destined to be left among those screaming and gnashing their teeth during the End Times. Take that, parodists!