200902281233Billy, Jeffy, Dolly, and PJ are getting their own deluxe collection treatment, as IDW continues to expand their comic strip empire. At their WonderCon panel today, IDW announced a new series of Family Circus reprint collections. PR below:

IDW Publishing is pleased to announce The Family Circus Library by Bil Keane. The Family Circus, which was originally published in only 19 newspapers, is now seen in over 1500 newspapers worldwide, making it one of the most enduring and popular comic strips ever.

Drawing inspiration from his own family’s antics, Bil Keane brought the charming adventures of Billy, Dolly, Jeffy & PJ to life where they have been beloved by millions of readers ever since.

“Having truly enjoyed drawing my Family Circus cartoons,” Bil Keane said, “it is icing on the cake to see them now preserved in these very special volumes that will go on and on and on! Realizing that future generations may read the Keane family drawings that I penned so long ago is a happy bonus for this old cartoonist. I am eternally grateful.”

The initial book will collect the first two years of daily and Sunday strips, starting from the very beginning, February 29th, 1960. Volume One will be released in November, in celebration of the 50 year anniversary of The Family Circus.

“The Family Circus has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid,” said Scott Dunbier, the project’s editor, “and is even more so now that I have kids that age!” Each hard cover book will be designed by Eisner Award winner Dean Mullaney, and will be part of the critically acclaimed Library of American Comics.


  1. As a kid reading the comics page in the daily newspaper, I used to draw cross-hairs in the circle to see if I couldn’t reward the characters for their insipid comments — double points for a head shot.

    I called my little game “Billy Must Die!”

  2. “The Family Circus has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid,” said Scott Dunbier, the project’s editor, “and is even more so now that I have kids that age!”

    No accounting for taste.

  3. Well, other companies have already gotten to all the good strips, so I suppose someone had to get to Family Circus eventually. Too bad there isn’t any amazing artistry or hidden depth to it.

  4. Bullshit on all of y’all. Bill Keane drew amazing clouds and dreary sunrises and sunsets and new early 60’s suburbs with sickly trees spaced far apart and knew the details of a split level inside and out. The guy knows detail.

  5. From the Wikipedia entry on Keane that everyone above should probably read before they go flappin’ their big fat lips,…the cartoonist had this to say about the similarities between himself and “Peanuts” creator Charles Schultz, “I always said we had a lot in common: We both did a feature about kids and family values. He had five children; I had five children. He was born in 1922; I was born in 1922. He made a million dollars a week; I was born in 1922.”

  6. If you think how well the “Garfield” collections sell, why not “Family Circus” ? This is about making money, not about the quality of a strip. IDW is obviously looking for a cash cow here. Isn’t this a constant struggle with art? What is it really about, commercial exploitation (lowest common denominator) or elevating an artform?

    I’m sure my mom and dad will be thrilled that they are packaging this up, but, on the other hand they wouldn’t spend a nickel on it either. I can’t wait, for the “Miss Peach” collection or the next ridiculous collection to be announced. Just remember, this has nothing what-so-ever to do with quality.

  7. FC is a mass market paperback strip. Safe for kids to read, some humor for the adults, and if it doesn’t sell, you strip the cover, return it for credit, and toss the book in the landfill. (Next rung down… Scholastic book club cartoon books.)
    Early strips of any creator are interesting to read, to see how style and technique evolved, what inspired the artist.
    Fortunately, among the FC collections I also found Pogo, Doonesbury, early Fawcett Peanuts, and VIP. I later overwrote the memories of FC with homemade Dysfuntional FC (and Dennis the Menace) strips rewritten by a coworker.
    Still waiting for Nancy, and Barnaby, and King Aroo, and 9 Chickweed Place, and Gordo, and…

  8. I, for one, am delighted to know that, finally, all the Family Circus comics will be collected all in one place, so I’ll know exactly where they are. And then can tiptoe silently around them.

  9. Gotta give IDW credit. They’re doing some great stuff.
    I’m not a FC fan really…but this is just one of a BUNCH of great stuff they’re coming out with.
    (and no I’m not including my stuff in there…)

    I’m glad to be a part of the movement.

  10. I’m not interested, but if that will pay for the Rip Kirby collections they promised, I’m all for it!

    Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

  11. I like this strip. It’s cute, it is positive, and talks about family. I don’t find it saccharine, or sucralose, but I understand that others do.

  12. Anyone slagging Family Circus, doesn’t know one wit about cartooning. Keane was a MASTER cartoonist. You may not like the subject matter, but he had chops that wouldn’t quit. And no I won’t argue with you about it, I’m right and you are wrong.

  13. Actually, Miss Peach was one of those mass market collections I found as a kid. The early strips, they actually had some decent writing and interesting characterization. (Mel Lazarus won the Reuben in 1981, Bil Keane in 1982.) Early B.C. is also quite good. And for those who disdain “mainstream comicstrips”, I recommend “Inside Woody Allen”.

  14. Wow they are digging at the bottom of the barrel aren’t they if they drudging up the worst comics for collections. What next? Mallard Fillmore and Dinette Set?

  15. Thanks for the links, now that I see the quality of the artwork and the humor of the writing, I still don’t get it. I’m actually more confused, maybe the humor is over my head. This was actually compared to “Peanuts”?

  16. It’s all subjective, right? I happen to love the strip. So many wonderful things in comic books and strips, we can’t agree on all of them. One I don’t get is Mutts. But I have some good friends who adore it. Doesn’t make it bad, just not to my tastes.

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