There is an advertising campaign currently running on television for a tax preparation company with the theme, “The Year of the You.”

“You had a big year,” the narrator says.  “Celebrate all the things you did, and all the things you’re capable of doing. Get your taxes done right with …”

These commercials make it sound like collecting bank statements, adding up receipts and filling out forms is like turning the pages of a scrapbook filled with cherished memories.  We all know the process is not that blissful.

Doing your taxes is a way of reviewing your year, but it’s more about numbers than accomplishments.  The first step is usually adding up your income.  If it was a good year you might conclude, “I didn’t do as bad as I thought I did.”  Then the fear that you might owe the government some money starts to creep in.

The next step is to calculate your deductions.  As these add up you start thinking that you might actually get some money back.  That would be nice.

If you’re lucky, the bottom line is close to even.  This realization inspired a Hi and Lois Sunday page in 2008.

Hi and Lois Sunday page, April 13, 2008

Hi and Lois Sunday page, April 13, 2008

Since most Americans have to file a tax return, it is an experience we all share.  Almost every year, we feature either a Hi and Lois Sunday page or a daily strip on the theme of taxes around the April 15th deadline.

In today’s Sunday page, Hi is complaining about all the work that is required to complete his tax return.  It’s bad enough that he has to pay the government a large chunk of the money he earned.  Being legally obligated to fill out the forms himself or pay someone to do it for him is like adding insult to injury.

Lois reminds Hi that it could be worse. This causes him to conjure up a scene from the Dark Ages when tax collectors would come knocking at the doors of peasants to demand the King’s ransom.  Maybe we don’t have it so bad after all.

We hope all of our readers finish their taxes on time.

– Brian Walker

Spring 1965

We would like to share another classic Sunday page that was created by Mort Walker and Dik Browne almost fifty years ago.  This one has a spring theme and features some terrific scenery.

Hi and Lois Sunday page color proof, April 25, 1965.

Hi and Lois Sunday page color proof, April 25, 1965.

Dik Browne was a master at composition and pacing.  Each panel in this page, from the long shot in the opening panel beneath the title to the double-size panorama at the conclusion, was perfectly designed to advance the storyline.  He varied the perspective, using an aerial view in the second panel, close-ups in panels three, five and seven and a wide-angle layout at the end.  He added details to some scenes to establish atmosphere and solid color backgrounds in others to emphasize conversational exchanges.

Lois is pretty and perky in her red spring blouse and checkered skirt.  Ditto is boyish in overalls and Dot is adorable with a ponytail and white shoes. The robin redbreast and butterfly are realistically rendered but still feel at home in the cartoon world of the Flagston family.

The bare limbs of the tree in panel six provide a dramatic contrast to the lone bud and the sturdy trunk in the last panel provides a good lookout spot for Ditto.  The bright color palette suggests the changing hues of early spring.

This example was scanned from an original color proof that was sent to Mort Walker by King Features Syndicate in 1965 and was recently restored by his assistant, Bill Janocha.

We hope you enjoy seeing these vintage Hi and Lois Sunday pages.  There are may more of these in our archives so stay tooned.

– Brian Walker

Opening Night

Although baseball games were played after sundown as far back as the 1880s, the first Major League contest held at night was at Crosley Field in Cincinnati on May 24, 1935 between the Reds and the Phillies.  The first nighttime All-Star game was played in Philadelphia in 1943 and the first World Series game played at night was in Pittsburgh in 1971.  Since then, both regular season and post-season afternoon games have become much less common, particularly because of the higher primetime TV ratings.

The official opening of the 2014 Major League season in the U.S. (two games were played last weekend in Australia) will begin in San Diego tonight before sunset on the west coast.  By the time it ends, it could be close to midnight on the east coast.  This makes it difficult for young baseball fan to watch the game.

Ditto Flagston is a typical seven-year old who loves baseball.  He makes all the necessary preparations for the opening of the new season.  He convinces his parents to let him stay up late to watch the game.  But his excitement is soon overcome by sleepiness. This situation was documented in the following Hi and Lois Sunday page from 2009.

Hi and Lois Sunday page, April 5, 2009.

Hi and Lois Sunday page, April 5, 2009.

Tomorrow there are thirteen games scheduled, nine of which will begin in daylight hours.  This should be a national holiday, so kids across the country can have the opportunity to attend opening day at their local stadiums.  I’m sure many of them will skip school anyway.  They should at least be given amnesty.

– Brian Walker