Chip Flagston was about eight years old when Hi and Lois started in 1954. He is the only character in the strip who has aged slightly over the years. By the time this episode appeared he was more of an adolescent, but not quite the teenager we know today.
It is amazing to look back on these vintage Sunday pages and see how much storytelling was possible when there was more space to work with. Over the course of twelve panels, Chip meanders home and then retraces his steps with Hi. After visiting a bakery and a construction site, he shows Hi other stops he made along the way, including a soda fountain, a tree, a telephone pole, a garage roof and a neighbor’s window before bringing the battered loaf back to Lois.
This page provides a wonderful visual tour of the Flagston’s neighborhood. Although they live in a typical suburban development, it must be close enough to town for Chip to walk to all these nearby locations. Here we get a rare glimpse of what life beyond their back yard looked like. A sense of place is important for a comic strip.
For more examples of graphic storytelling by the great masters – Mort Walker and Dik Browne – stay tooned for our continuing journey through the decade of the 1960s.
– Brian Walker