Timeline – 1964 Part 1

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Hi and Lois Sunday page color proof, January 26, 1964.

Hi and Thirsty are best buddies and next-door neighbors. They’ve known each other since childhood. They work in the same office, take a bus home together and complain to each other about their problems.

This classic episode features many aspects of their relationship. At first Hi is sympathetic to Thirsty’s griping. But he eventually has to give Thirsty a reality check about how easy he has it. Hi describes life in the “olden days” as being much harder. Thirsty has a different picture of the past. He’s not completely wrong. Primitive hunter-gatherers did work less than modern office workers, but their life expectancy was much shorter.  Women were just as important in the division of labor as they are today.

Dik Browne once described his drawing as a “form of crocheting.” This episode is another good example of his remarkable craftsmanship. The aerial perspective and silhouetting in panel #3 shows Hi and Thirsty returning home. Panel #5 sets the mood with some very dramatic lighting. The distinctive line technique and coloring in panels #6 and #7 set them apart from the rest of the page. The profile of Thirsty with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth in the last panel helps deliver the gag. Each scene is a mini-masterpiece in composition and helps advance the story.

This is the first installment from 1964 in our Timeline series. Stay tooned for more.

– Brian Walker

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