Thursday, December 06, 2001


So if you were on an airplane, and an angel got sucked into one of the turbines and caused a crash, would you automatically get into Heaven?
-- Andy Ihnatko

It was shut down a couple of years ago, by mutual agreement between cartoonist Bil Keane and parodist Greg Galcik. But in its day (1995-1999), the most gut-wrenchingly side-splittingly funny, tears-in-your-eyes -- "Stop! You're killing me! No, wait! Just one more!" -- thing on the whole friggin' Internet was The Dysfunctional Family Circus, an interactive feature in which readers were invited to submit their own captions for actual published Family Circus cartoons. Galcik would select fifty-or-so of the best entries for online publication, which typically ran the gamut between perversely surreal and just plain sick. "Bob's Comics Review" explained the phenomenon in 1996:

There's a perverse compliment to Keane in the very success of the DFC. It just invites retitling, and I don't think the Dysfunctional treatment would work anywhere as well for other lame comics. A Dysfunctional Marmaduke would still be about a big annoying dog; a Dysfunctional Beetle Bailey could hardly transcend the fantasy army and the soul-destroying stereotypes of the real thing; a Dysfunctional Cathy could only be three or four variations on "Cathy's a loser." But Keane's situations are simple, yet varied enough that DFCers can comment on almost anything. FC and DFC together achieve a cosmic balance: the Family Circus is a neverland of unrealized and unrealizable family values; the DFC, by exaggeration, shows us how life really is, more effectively than even the deliberately ugly style of underground cartoonists can do.

I was delighted to discover that the complete Dysfunctional Family Circus has been archived here. Use the VCR-like buttons to scroll through all 500 pages, or use this alternate text-based index. (And somewhere, amidst the thousands of captions, see if you can spot three by my alter ego, Oplyd Oleo.)

Ah, I remember my first baby chick. The blood tastes like hot nails, and they squeak a bit, but you get used to it.
-- phil


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