A Different Kind of Comic Roast

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By: Dave Astor

Today’s “Get Fuzzy” comic showed Jason from “FoxTrot” and Billy from “The Family Circus” getting roasted over an open fire by Bucky Katt.

What’s it like seeing your cartoon character in that precarious situation? “At least it wasn’t me,” laughed “The Family Circus” co-cartoonist Jeff Keane, who was the namesake for Jeffy, not Billy, in the King Features Syndicate comic.

Cartoonists occasionally have fun by putting characters from other comics into their own comics. In the strip showing Billy and Jason — titled “Rejected Get Fuzzy Storylines” — Darby Conley first pictured a piece of paper that read, in part: “Bucky visits other comic strips. Hilarity ensues.” Then the United Media cartoonist showed Jason over the fire saying, “Of all the days to carry magnesium in my pocket”; and Billy over the fire saying, “Mommy! I’m burning!” Bucky responds: “Shut yer piehole.”

Keane said Billy’s appearance in “Get Fuzzy” took him by surprise, but he didn’t take offense at it. “I always find it to be a compliment when ‘The Family Circus’ is mentioned in another comic,” said Keane, who collaborates with his father, Bil, on the King panel. “You couldn’t make a joke — or attempt to make a joke — about ‘The Family Circus’ if it wasn’t so recognizable.”

“FoxTrot” creator Bill Amend was also contacted by E&P, and said he knew Jason’s “Get Fuzzy” cameo was coming. “Darby called me a couple of weeks ago seeking help writing Jason’s dialogue,” said the Universal Press Syndicate cartoonist. “Obviously, it’s very flattering, but the best part is the opportunity this gives for payback!”

A United spokesperson reported no complaints about today’s strip from any of the 500-plus “Get Fuzzy” clients. But she did say that tomorrow’s comic by Conley was potentially controversial enough for United to send clients an alternate strip to use if they so desire. It is not known how many papers will run the regular Nov. 18 comic (which E&P has not seen) and how many will run the alternate.

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