Hi and Lois Sunday page color proof, August 12, 1962.
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.
Hi and Lois Sunday page color proof, June 17, 1962.
Mort Walker and Dik Browne were having some fun with sound effects in this episode. “SKROOiiCK!” is certainly a noise that can grab your attention and get on your nerves.
There’s a word for this technique that Mort Walker explains in his classic book, The Lexicon of Comicana. “Cartoonists are especially fond of onomatopoeia (words that imitate natural sounds). Comic strips are literally strewn with PLOPS, BLAMS, ZOTS, OOFS, SWOOSHES and ZOOMS. What’s more, a cartoonist takes great pride in interpreting new sounds all the time. Listening outside his studio you can hear him vocalizing the piece of action at hand…a bat hitting a ball, FWAT!…a foot kicking a garbage pail, K-CHUNKKK! He will try many sounds before he settles on the one that satisfies him. Then he will add more meaning to the sound by animating the lettering.”
HI and Lois Sunday page color proof, May 20, 1962.
The technique in the strip above, using a primitive drawing style to express a child’s point-of-view, probably goes back to the earliest days of cartooning. We have featured it many times over the years in Hi and Lois.
There was an innovative strip in newspapers at this time that used a similar approach exclusively. Jackys Diary by Jack Mendelsohn was a Sunday-only feature and debuted on January 11, 1959. It was presented as a hand-drawn, hand-written diary from Mendelsohn’s youth. Similar to Dot, Jacky related stores about his family, his boyhood adventures, his schoolwork and a variety of other experiences.