The 1999 Road Trip – Week Two

In the second week of the 1999 cross-country sequence, the Flagstons tour through the western United States.  They also continue to experience mishaps that are typical of most family vacations.

In the first three dailies they look for a place to eat, take an outdoor bathroom break and see some southwestern Indian cave dwellings.

Hi and Lois daily strips, August 16, 17 and 18, 1999.

Hi and Lois daily strips, August 16, 17 and 18, 1999.

Chance added many humorous details to these drawings.  He came up with the hilarious names for the roadside restaurants in the first strip.  The moon in the desert scene of the second episode was borrowed from one of George Herriman’s Krazy Kat pages.  The pictographs in the third installment look they were done by an early cartoonist.

In the next three strips, the Flagstons visit the strip in Las Vegas, have a white-water rafting adventure and finally go camping in Redwood State Park.

Hi and Lois daily strips, August 19, 20 and 21, 1999.

Hi and Lois daily strips, August 19, 20 and 21, 1999.

In addition to a convincing caricature of an Elvis impersonator, these episodes feature great backgrounds of casinos and western forests.  The overstuffed trailer in the final strip helps to visually reinforce the gag.  The single-panel format encouraged Chance to render some terrific scenes.

Check back next week for the final Sunday page in this historic series.

– Brian Walker

The 1999 Road Trip – Sunday Page #2

In the second Sunday page episode of the 1999 road trip, the Flagstons continue their drive across the Midwestern states.  It’s been a bad day.  Anyone who has ever gone on a family vacation must know what this situation feels like.

Hi and Lois Sunday page, August 15, 1999.

Hi and Lois Sunday page, August 15, 1999.

Chance did a terrific job illustrating this two-week series.  The drawing in the drop panel at the top of the page sets the scene with the farmhouse and silo on the distant horizon and the planted fields in the foreground.  These are wide-open spaces.  The silhouette of the car pulling the trailer in the middle panel is a particularly effective graphic transition.  The approaching tornado in the final panel helps create a sense of impending doom.  What happens next is left up to the reader’s imagination.

Hopefully things will improve for the Flagstons as they continue their journey across America.  Stay tooned for the second week of daily strips.

– Brian Walker

The 1999 Road Trip – Week One

During the first week of their 1999 summer vacation, the Flagstons traveled across the Great Plains towards the Continental Divide.  Along the way, they spend a night in a cheap motel, drive past yet another popular tourist attraction and get an aerial view of a run-down trailer park.  This is not the perfect family getaway.

Hi and Lois daily strips, August 8, 9 and 10, 1999.

Hi and Lois daily strips, August 9, 10 and 11, 1999.

The challenge of writing a series like this is that each episode has to work as a stand-alone gag and, at the same time, advance the story.  We have to come up with many more ideas than what is used to insure that the final choices serve both functions.

The humor in the 1999 story is somewhat different than in the 1966 version.  We often describe the Flagstons as a “functional family in a dysfunctional world.” This series provided an ideal opportunity to show how they cope with the problems of the modern world away from the comforts of their home.

Hi and Lois daily strips, August 12, 13 and 14, 1999.

Hi and Lois daily strips, August 12, 13 and 14, 1999.

We also designed the strips in a single-panel format to showcase the panoramic vistas of the various places they visit.  This gives the series a visual cohesiveness.  Chance worked many extra hours to create evocative locations and add realistic details to these compositions.  He was inspired by his father’s work on the 1966 road trip sequence.

We will be posting the second Sunday page in the story next week so stay tooned.

– Brian Walker