MAD Sneak Peek: Honey Boo Boo’s Family Circus

February 19th, 2013 | Posted in MAD Magazine

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My piece in MAD #520 was a departure from my typical work for the magazine, which when it happens is always interesting and challenging. This project was particularly fun and personally enjoyable because I am good friends with Jeff Keane, son of The Family Circus creator Bil Keane. Jeff has been doing the strip since his dad’s retirement about a decade ago and continues to do it today. Bil passed away in November of 2011. I knew Jeff would enjoy this, and it was great fun doing it. I saw him this past weekend at the Success in Comics Seminar in Annapolis, where we were both speakers. When I showed it to him, it suddenly made sense why I called about a month ago to ask him what he did his inking with.

I have occasionally added cartoon characters in cameos in my parodies for MAD, in which case I try and duplicate the look of the original character as he/she/it is drawn in the source material, but I modify the style so the characters look like they would exist in the same space as my other artwork. This was the first time MAD has asked me to do a feature that called for a complete duplication of another style. This was a bit more challenging, because I had to both ape the Keane style, but also attempt to draw caricatures of the Thompson family within that style. I had to both depart a little from the true Keane look on the one hand, and I had to compromise the likenesses (especially the older girls) on the other hand, in order to meet in the middle with a compromise on the caricatures. Some worked better than others. Here are a few more samples from that article:




There’s plenty more, including one of the classic “dotted line” Sunday panels. However, you’ll have to go out and buy a copy to see it, you cheap putz!


  1. Anthony says:

    Funny article. I hope you didn’t have to watch any of the show.

  2. Love it! Family Circus was one of my favorites as a kid. The ‘lucky quarter” panel is hilarious, great job, Tom! I bet your friend was tickled.

  3. Dave Nelson says:

    Really, Really great! I love that Jeff appreciated the humor. I’m gonna snatch it off the newsstand for sure!

  4. […] now Richmond has done something that raises him to Lar-level-versatility in my eyes: A parody of the awful “Honey Boo Boo” TV show family in the style of The Family Circus. (more at the link) I have seen many a take on Family Circus (some unnecessarily cruel), but here […]

  5. jailerjoe says:

    “…mama’s fat rolls!”? Laughing so hard it hurts!!! Wanna see Jeff create a caricature of you, Tom:)

  6. Lee Fortuna says:

    Tom, ASS Kickin job! A cartoonist for all season’s I tell ya! And even though the cover of Mad is not yours I feel it’s very refreshing. And I’m sure Mark F. being the classy cover artist that he is, most likely dig’s the cover as well. Great cover MAD boys!

  7. Tom says:

    Thanks, everybody!

  8. Frank Santopadre says:

    Relieved to hear that Jeff liked it, T. Nice job, btw! You did a gag writer proud.


  9. Sam Thong says:

    Thanks for no subtitles, I couldn’t read fast enough!


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