Timeline – 1975 Part 4

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Hi and Lois Sunday page color proof, November 9, 1975.

“The Sunday funnies” is a term that evokes nostalgic images.  Family members arguing over who gets the comics first.  Children on their hands and knees gazing at the colorful pages scattered across the living room floor.  Father snoozing in his easy chair, the newspaper opened in his lap.  The kids looking over Grandpa’s shoulders.When newspaper comics were first introduced in the 1890s, they appeared, for the most part, in color on Sundays.  It wasn’t until the next decade that they were published regularly in the daily papers.

Daily comics have traditionally been printed in black-and-white, but many newspapers are now featuring color comics seven days a week. Sunday pages are almost always printed in color and come in a variety of layouts.The artist often provided the syndicate with a color guide for the Sunday page, although since the mid-1990s, most of the coloring has been done by computer.

In the Sunday page above the scenery is essential to the gag.  It provides a counterpoint to Lois’ dialogue.  Dik Browne went all out drawing beams of sunlight shining through a grove of trees, a patchwork of farmland, a quaint mill with a waterfall and a stone bridge, a barn with cows and ducks, and sailboat gliding across a picturesque bay.  He made full use of the color palate of the Sunday funnies. This all leads to the surprising punch line. “How can she not think of anything to paint,” the reader is left to wonder.

This is the last installment from 1975 in our Timeline series.  I’m taking a week off to attend the opening of an exhibit I curated, Artistically MAD – Seven Decades of Satire at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum in Columbus, Ohio.  Check back the week after for something new.

– Brian Walker

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