July 25, 2005

Funny Pages & Not-So-Funny Pages

Wow, a fascinating article about how father-son relationships play out in the work of cartoonists and graphic novelists.

Now in his mid-50s and happily married, Brian Walker has replicated the lifestyle enjoyed by his father [Mort, creator of "Beetle Bailey, Hi and Lois, Hagar The Horrible, etc.], working in a studio not far from home. "As a modern father, I feel that there is this expectation to do everything," Walker says. "To be involved in child rearing, change the diapers, give the kids rides, go to the baseball games. My father did all that stuff, because he was around. Most of the fathers of his generation didn't do that kind of stuff."

...

...we began to see a persistent theme of father-son love (and its absence) in both the strip and King's life. In 1916, after suffering the stillbirth of one child, King and his wife gave birth to a son, Robert, who appeared five years later in "Gasoline Alley" as an impish young boy named Skeezix, the cherished adopted son of his "Uncle Walt." But a year later, even as Skeezix played with his adoring father, Robert was sent away to boarding school and saw his parents only in the summer. According to his daughter Drewanna, the adult Robert never talked about the strip that represented an idealized version of his own boyhood.

Family business: The bittersweet story of fathers, sons, and comics [boston.com via...I forget, sorry]

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