The Family Circus (12/18/09)

Earlier this fall, my fiance and I saw cartoonists Matt Groening and Lynda Barry converse on stage at the Chicago Humanities Festival. The chat drew what must have been 1,000 people to a massive auditorium at the University of Illinois at Chicago, but still managed to be intimate and endearing. At one point Barry, who made a name for herself as an underground cartoonist, referenced her love of The Family Circus. After hearing a few groans from the audience, she recalled how the strip gave her refuge from the abusive household she grew up in. The Family Circus does present an idealized world filled with children who say the darndest things, and though I usually can’t stand it I can see how its corny aesthetic might comfort a young person who needs a safe space to call her own.

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