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!