Broadside Blog

Bil Keane and The Family Circus
Posted by Bacon on November 8th, 2013 filed in Hero of the week, Stories

Few things in life are immortal, but in the cartoon world, the strip that approaches immortality more than any other is The Family Circus. Drawn by its creator Bil Keane, The Family Circus describes the life most people in America (not to mention people in many other parts of the world) have experienced. It is warm-hearted, yet spot on in bringing to life the foibles that all families share. It evokes memories of yesterday, yet remains as current today as ever.

Bil Keane died on November 8, 2011, sending shock waves throughout the world. Fellow cartoonists mourned; fans worried that the strip would end. Everyone wished they had one more day to spend with the kind and witty Bil Keane.

On November 8, 2013, just two years after his death, a statue will be dedicated to him in his adopted town of Scottsdale, Arizona – the site of, and inspiration for, the cartoon that has been in syndication for over fifty years. Present will be fans, friends and, of course, his beloved family.

Keane statue

It is the perfect representation of what Bil Keane stood for.

A veteran of World War II, he continued to give back to the military by visiting the troops on the front lines during the Vietnam War (a family tradition that continues through his son Jeff, who has been on three trips to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan).

Bil Keane in Vietnam (1967)

Bil Keane in Vietnam (1967)

His legacy is that of a kind and funny man who loved his family and country dearly.

His strip, now drawn by Jeff, is the most widely published cartoon in the world. It is about as close to being immortal as a cartoon panel can get. And with the dedication of a statue in his honor, so is Bil Keane.

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