Begun in 1960, the single panel strip followed the mundane activities of Billy, Dolly, Jeffy, and P.J. and heir long suffering parents. Keane’s gentle humor was often the target of biting satire’s — recent parodies replaced the kid captions with quotes from Nietzsche and HP Lovecraft — but to a country expanding its suburban lifestyle in the post war years, the strip clearly resonated. Given that it was based on Keane’s own family, the resonance was personal. Keane’s most imitated elements include the “Not me!’ panels and the famed dotted line strips in which a path of childlike destruction was usually charter.
Keane’s son Jeff continues to draw the strip; anther son, Glen, is a noted animator.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.