Dik Browne was a veteran advertising artist when he started working on Hi and Lois in 1954, so he probably had prior experience drawing animals. It still must have been challenging for him to render an elephant, a lion, a giraffe, monkeys and seals so that they blended in with the established style of the strip. These look more like humorous caricatures than realistic wildlife illustrations.
Dik always believed that Sunday pages were an opportunity to showcase his artwork in ways that weren’t possible in the limited confines of a daily strip. The expanded space also encouraged the writers to come up with gags that got the family out of the house and put them in more interesting situations. This collaboration resulted in unique pages like the one above.
Next week we will be featuring another classic episode from 1962, so stay tooned.
– Brian Walker