And Now a Few Words From the Creator of One of the World’s Most Beloved Family Comics

On Thursday night, I was drinking at a bar in the Gaslamp district of San Diego.  There I ran into ‘Family Circus’ creator Jeff Keane.  My spotlight panel at Comic-Con was scheduled for the next day.

“Hey Jeff, you have to come to my panel tomorrow,” I told him.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because every time I do a panel, someone inevitably asks me what other cartoonists think when I parody their strips.”‘

“So?” he said.

“So if somebody asks that question, I can surprise everyone by introducing you and showing them that we know each other and are actually good friends.”

“Alright,” he said, “I’ll try and make it.”

The next day I did my panel.  At the end of it, I took questions.

Sure enough, one of the first questions was what the other cartoonists thought of my parodies.

Warming up to my surprise, I said that other cartoonists were generally great sports about the parodies and that most of us are good friends.  I added that both of the “Family Circus” creators, Bil Keane (the father) and Jeff Keane (his son) were especially great sports.  And to prove my point, I scanned the audience for Jeff.

“Jeff?” I asked, hoping he had come. “Are you here somewhere?  Jeff?  Jeff?”

And slowly someone I couldn’t quite see rose from the back of the audience.

“SCREW YOU!!!” the person yelled.

The person being Jeff Keane.

My good friend.


37 thoughts on “And Now a Few Words From the Creator of One of the World’s Most Beloved Family Comics

  1. I never thought I would say this, but I think I have a whole new appreciation for the Keane men. Still hate Family Circus, but I have to read it every day. It’s like a car accident where you just have to look.

  2. That’s hilarious. Why can’t he incorporate any of that humor into his comics?

    And what do you mean by “beloved”?

    I agree wholly and completely with the above comment.

  3. Best laugh I had all day. Props to Jeff for making the audience disbelieve you 🙂

  4. Very funny, Stephan. Sorry I missed seeing you there. I was all over that Con for the whole 4 days, yet somehow never bumped into you.

  5. I was there…thought it was both very funny and very sporting of Jef to be there. I’m not a “Family Circus” fan, but I’ve never understood people who try to compare it to say “Pearls” or “Get Fuzzy.” It’s aimed at a very young audience…or a very old one. It has it’s own, sweet, simple niche. It’s like complaining that the new “G Force” movie isn’t “Citizen Kane.” I don’t think they were trying to be, really. “Garfield” killed me when I was 10…not so much at 43. But then again, it’s not aimed at me. It was great of Jef to be there at the panel…cartoonists are generally a pretty laid back bunch!

  6. Well, if Little Jeffy stood and yelled “Screw you!” Then the parodies are not too far off!! He didn’t shoot his probation officer like in your strip did he? LOL!

  7. Your exchange with Jeff was a highlight of the Con for me. As well as your entire presentation — funny, informative, entertaining. Thank you. (Although I am understandably jealous of your time spent with Sparky…)

  8. Hey… after having to sit thru your whole talk, what I was gonna say was…. “Screw you, you Turkey hating, Greek bastard!”… but I thought that might be going to far…

  9. I’ve known them to be great sports at parody for awhile now . . . from reading his ‘introduction’ to one of your books to hearing your testament recently on the radio . . . .

    Still, I so desperately wish I could have been there to witness that . . .

    Just know that tears of laughter are currently streaming from my eyes, simply imagining that scene at Comic-Con d:

  10. I think it’s time for a Rat/Jeffy throwdown with Dolly walking the ring number around while wearing a bikini. A lot of us would pay to see that.

  11. Did you notice that a few weeks ago on a Sunday, the father in Family Circus was reading a book titled “Rat and Pig Get Lost”?

  12. Pingback: News Briefs for July 29, 2009 | The Daily Cartoonist

  13. wish i had been there but you were etheir laughing or wondering who the heck that was

  14. I hope you come to Comic Con again…I feel so sad for missing this epicness T_T

  15. I’m sure you were fighting the urge to beat him with a lead pipe. But just wait for a dark alleyway… That would put an end to the strip :)!

  16. Indeed. New found appreciation for the Keanes. That was quite awesome. Your blog posts brighten my day. I couldn’t have wanted a better response from Jeff.

  17. This is one of the funniest things I’ve heard. I have a feeling you got as big a kick out of it as we did!

  18. Aw man, I can’t believe I missed that! I regret not going now.

    I might have been able to go to ComicCon too, because my mom was hinting like she wanted to go. She was asked me on the week they where having it, why I didn’t ask her if I/we could go. I told her I figured that if she said no to Anime Expo (also in the LA area, which was on 4th of July weekend), I thought she would say no to Comic-con too. Then she said, “You still could have asked…”

    Maybe next year, thats if I don’t go to AX then too.

  19. It was actually when “Pearls Before Swine” and “Get Fuzzy” were running the exact same strips on the same day with their own characters that introduced me to Pearls. Now, I read Pearls everyday but don’t read Get Fuzzy as much as I used to – not that it’s a bad comic mind you, it’s just, oh, I don’t know why – someone help me out here!

  20. So, was there any more interaction with him after that initial exchange? Did the audience get that he was joking?

  21. That is so great. How wickedly silly.

    And I never was a fan of Family Circus… I’m pretty sure my mom has a drawing or autograph from one of the Keane people, sat next to them on the plane. Random.

  22. Pingback: How not to respond to criticism - TV Guidance -

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