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From The Toike Vault: The Family Circus “Kitchen Nightmares” 

During his time at the University of Toronto in the mid 1930’s, renowned cartoonist Bill Keane, best known for creating the comic strip ‘The Family Circus,’ developed his craft by drafting the Toike’s first ever Comics. Keane, a noted cooking enthusiast and opponent of vegetarianism, would often draw from his experiences in the kitchen to deliver some profound message to readers. Unfortunately, Keane grew intimidated by the size of the Toike’s readership and refused to allow his works to be published, opting instead to publish his newer comic strips in a second-tier magazine called The New Yorker. Now, thanks to the efforts of a group of volunteers cleaning out that storage cabinet in EngCom, one of Keane’s unpublished strips will finally be…described! We could only find his notes. Enjoy. 


Kitchen Nightmares 

By Bill Keane


Panel 1: A blurry image (smudge the lead marks to make it look blurry) of an onion’s legs (muscular but not too veiny). The image is from the point of view of the onion itself. The onion is lying on top of some wooden board (note to self: learn how to draw cutting board with wood grain). There’s a text bubble that says “Wh-what’s going on?” that’s not coming from anyone in the image. It’s coming from…the reader! (Whoa, that’s so trippy! The reader IS the onion!

Panel 2: The image of the onion legs is clearer now (sharpen your pencil to make it look focused). A knife descends from above towards the onion legs (knife is going across the legs, not along them, that would be weird). The onion legs are sweating now (make the contours of the leg muscles more defined to make the legs look sweatier). There’s a text bubble coming from the reader again that says “WAIT! WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THAT? NO! PLEASE! DON’T!” 

Panel 3: The knife is through the onion legs now and is blocking one of the legs from view. The other leg is visible but it’s been cut off (show the onion layers on the inside of the leg!). In the knife blade, we can see the onion face (round) screaming. There’s a text bubble in the knife blade (whoa, that’s so cool) coming from the onion face and it just says “AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”. 

Panel 4: Switch to an image of the woman cutting the onion. The chopped onion is visible on the cutting board on the counter. The woman is facing away from the counter wiping a tear from her eye. There is a text bubble coming from the woman that says “Damn, onions always make me cry” (I’m so funny). 


Panel 5: There is no image. Only a black background with white text (that’s so deep) that reads “If you’re crying, think how they feel.” (Wow, I just got the chills!