40th Anniversary – Conclusion

The Sunday page we did for the 40th anniversary story in 1994 showed Beetle and his sister Lois flipping through pages in an old family photo album.

Hi and Lois Sunday page, October 23, 1994.

Hi and Lois Sunday page, October 23, 1994.

It was fun to imagine what Beetle and Lois might have looked like when they were younger and to speculate about the dynamics of their relationship.  We were writing the backstory of characters who had been around for decades.

The story concluded with a strip on the following Monday in which Sarge showed up to retrieve Beetle before he went AWOL.

Hi and Lois daily strip, October 24, 1994.

Hi and Lois daily strip, October 24, 1994.

Can you guess which Bailey/Flagston family member is missing in this panoramic scene?  We will tell you the answer in the next post.

We hope our readers have enjoyed seeing these strips from twenty years ago. This was an historic moment in the history of both strips.

It is hard to believe it was that long ago.

– Brian Walker

Anniversaries

Hi and Lois debuted on October 18, 1954 and is celebrating its 60th anniversary this week.  To commemorate the occasion, we did a special series, “Then and Now,” showing how things have changed during the long run of the strip.  On Sunday we will be showcasing a special anniversary tribute page.

Although fans of Hi and Lois are well aware of its historic connection to Beetle Bailey, the general public is probably not.

In 1954, as the Korean War was winding down, Mort Walker became concerned that readers would no longer relate to the military theme of his three-and-a-half year old comic strip.  So he sent Beetle home on furlough to visit his family.  Here is a scene from that two-week sequence in which Beetle’s future is debated.  The couple on the couch with the baby is his sister Lois and her husband Hi.Beetle54

Mort received hundreds of letters demanding that Beetle stay in the Army, so he gave in to the pressure and had him return to Camp Swampy.  Six months later, he launched a new comic strip, Hi and Lois, with Dik Browne as the artist.

To mark the 40th anniversary of Hi and Lois in 1994, we did a special series in which Beetle goes home again to visit his sister.  Here is the week of daily strips from October 17 to 22, 1994.Beetle Visit dailies 10:17-18 copyBeetle Visit dailies 10:19-20 copyBeetle Visit 10:21-22 copy

We will be running the conclusion of this story in the next installment, so stay tooned.

– Brian Walker

Rip Van Winkle

Washington Irving’s short story, Rip Van Winkle, was first published in 1819.  It takes place in a town at the foot of the Catskill Mountains in New York shortly before the Revolutionary War.  The star of the story is a Dutchman who is beloved by the children of the village but nagged by his wife for his lazy habits

One winter’s day, Rip wanders up into the hills to escape from his domestic misery and encounters a group of bearded men who are playing nine-pins – an early European precursor to American ten-pin bowling.  After drinking some of their liquid libation he falls asleep.

He awakens to discover that his beard has grown down to his waist.  When he returns to the village he learns that his wife has passed away and all of his friends are gone.  It turns out that he was sleeping for more than twenty years!

An elder villager finally recognizes Rip and his now-adult daughter takes him into her home where he resumes his idle ways.  Irving’s story went on to become a classic American folk tale, making Rip a hero to many generations of hen-pecked husbands.

Rip Van Winkle has been reprinted in many different collections over the years, but the most beloved is this edition published by the David McKay Company in 1921 and illustrated by N.C. Wyeth.

Cover to the 1921 book, illustrated by N.C. Wyeth

Cover to the 1921 book, illustrated by N.C. Wyeth

In 2009, while trying to come up with ideas for Hi and Lois, I recalled this story from my childhood and immediately started thinking about how much the Flagston’s next-door-neighbor resembled Rip Van Winkle.  The following Sunday page was the result.

Hi and Lois Sunday page, October 4, 2009.

Hi and Lois Sunday page, October 4, 2009.

I managed to condense Irving’s tale into four panels and set it up with Hi telling the story to the twins.  Chance did the inking in a rough-hewn style similar to the way his father Dik drew Hagar the Horrible.  It was fun to do something different for a change and we hope our readers enjoyed this little story within a story.

Fall is our favorite season, so stay tooned for more autumnal-themed episodes of Hi and Lois.

– Brian Walker