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Bob Weber Jr. and Jay Stephens launch Oh, Brother!

Today King Features launches a new comic strip entitled Oh, Brother! by Slylock Fox and Comics for Kids creator Bob Weber Jr. and Emmy Award-winning creator of Secret Saturdays and Tutenstein Jay Stephens. Oh, Brother! is centered around a precocious younger brother, Bud, and a more sensible slightly older sister, Lily.

From King’s announcement to their DailyInk subscribers:

“Oh, Brother!” perfectly captures the wide-eyed innocence and simple moments of childhood, from winter’s first snow day to summer’s first water balloon fight. Despite their obvious personality differences, Lily and Bud love each other deeply and have a strong sibling bond.


Reprinted with permission

As you can see above, the feature is sold as a panel, but the layout is that of a vertical multi-panel. Sundays (below) are laid horizontally like most other Sundays.


Reprinted with permission

The drawing style harkens back to a cartooning style of the ’60s and ’70s. It’s void of extraneous detail (sparse backgrounds, no wrinkles/folds in clothing) which adds to the simplistic writing of the comic. There are no belabored setups to get to the punchline. The Sunday posted above is one of the wordier Sundays. The character cast is narrowly focused on the siblings – no parents in the beginning months that I reviewed and friends appear to be one for each sibling.

Another mark of its simplicity is the feature tries to be timeless. There are no iPods, iPads, iMacs or any “iModern conveniences.” In a couple of dailies there is an ATM machine and an airport x-ray machine that were necessary to set a context, but overall modern references don’t exist. When Bud writes a thank you note to his grandma for a gift, he’s shown handwriting it, not sending an email.

I find it interesting that they use a vertical gag panel to do a multi-panel strip. Because of the simplicity of the line art they can pull it off. Sometimes the panel is split in half horizontally, sometimes vertically, sometimes horizontally with the top half is then split vertically. It’s an interesting arrangement, but it works well and it’s not difficult to follow the flow regardless of how they’re laid out.

One last observation. The feature reminds me a bit of a nostalgia comic like Red and Rover. It reminds you of a simpler time, simpler concerns and simpler themes. The strip will probably play well to older readers and those with pre-teen children. The strip, in its early form, is very, very safe. Teens through those without children are going to find it lacking any edge. Since the demographics of newspaper subscribers skew older, the feature should do well in print.

Community Comments

#1 Mike Cope
June/28/2010
@ 8:48 am

OH, BROTHER does this look like fun!! Best wishes to you both!

#2 Bob Weber Jr.
June/28/2010
@ 8:55 am

Thank you, Mike! You can see more samples in my
Facebook album
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=logo#!/album.php?aid=2028458&id=1122146965

#3 Dan Thompson
June/28/2010
@ 8:58 am

I think Jay Stephens’ cartooning is pretty awesome…I’m a huge fan of his work! Good Luck with “Oh, Brother!”, Bob and Jay!

#4 Chris Duffy
June/28/2010
@ 10:39 am

This is so great. I remember when Jay did a Comics Journal interview and said he wanted to do a strip. I remember thinking how great that would be. Now it’s a reality! The writer/artist pairing seems to work really well. Best of luck to the strip.

#5 Vince LoGreco
June/28/2010
@ 11:08 am

This looks good, I have added it to my Comics Kingdom reading list.

#6 Darryl Heine
June/28/2010
@ 1:03 pm

No Chicago paper has picked up this strip yet.

#7 Charles Brubaker
June/28/2010
@ 3:06 pm

The art is very well done, but this seems to be another “sibling rivalry” strips we’ve seen many, many times.

I guess “The Secret Saturdays” is done for?

#8 B.J. Dewey
June/28/2010
@ 3:18 pm

LOVE the “vertical multi-panel” layout. Sometimes tinkering with the box panels layouts doesn’t work well for a particular comic. For this one, it surely does.

Good Luck!

B.J.

#9 Lon Braidwood
June/28/2010
@ 4:55 pm

This looks great. I am a big Jay Stephens fan.

#10 Ricardo (Guto Dias)
June/28/2010
@ 5:49 pm

Nice work! I LOVE the comic!

Good Luck!

Guto

#11 mark mason
June/28/2010
@ 6:48 pm

Perfect title!

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