I don’t just try to be funny.
On radio and television, magazines and the movies, you can’t tell what you’re going to get. When you look at the comic page, you can usually depend on something acceptable by the entire family.
I like to feel that what I’m doing portrays this: a family where there is love between mother, father and the kids. It’s a subject that is near and dear to me.
I don’t have to come up with a ha-ha belly laugh every day, but drawings with warmth and love or ones that put a lump in the throat. That’s more important to me than a laugh.
In Roslyn, Pennsylvania, we started our real-life family circus. They provided the inspiration for my cartoons. I provided the perspiration.
When I was in high school at Northeast Catholic in Philadelphia in the late ’30s, I found that drawing caricatures of the teachers and satirizing the events in the school, then having them published in our school magazine, got me some notoriety.
I didn’t always spell my name Bil. My parents named me Bill, but when I started drawing cartoons on the wall, they knocked the ‘L’ out of me.
Many of my cartoons are not a belly laugh. I go for nostalgia, the lump in the throat, the tear in the eye, the tug in the heart.
They invented hugs to let people know you love them without saying anything.
Many of the network television shows have done takeoffs on ‘Family Circus,’ including ‘David Letterman,’ ‘Friends,’ ‘Roseanne,’ and others, and, in my estimation the use of them is a compliment to the popularity of the feature, which just by mentioning it’s name sets up the image of a warm, loving family-type feature.
I never studied art, but taught myself to draw by imitating the New Yorker cartoonists of that day, instead of doing my homework.
We are, in the comics, the last frontier of good, wholesome family humor and entertainment.
I think it’s a novelty for cartoon characters to cross over into another strip or panel occasionally.
A hug is like a boomerang – you get it back right away.
Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.