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Jan Eliot participates in university discussion on women, family in comic strips

Stone Soup creator Jan Eliot recently spoke on the issues of women and families in contemporary comic strips with the Sociology Club and Anthropology Society at the University of Southern Mississippi. The cool part was that Jan’s participation was through teleconferencing where she could talk about the inspirations, challenges and triumphs of her work.

She’s quoted as saying, “the comic strip is based on the experiences I faced as a single mother. Throughout my struggle of raising two daughters with less than enough money, I learned that humor really is the best medicine for dealing with the day-to-day challenges.”

Jan’s early attempted as syndicate were futile as sydicates didn’t want to shop a comic strip based on a divorced mother and dealt with the issues of single parenthood.

“I received a lot of negative feedback in the beginning because my strip didn’t center around the ‘perfect’ wholesome two-parent household that newspaper editors wanted to see,” Jan said.

She was eventually offered a contract with Universal in 1995 and Stone Soup is now in more than 200 papers.

Glenn Duggin, a senior sociology student who attended the teleconference with Eliot, said he believes the cartoonist’s work is interesting to analyze from a sociological perspective because it illustrates how art and culture influence each other.

“As a society we are taught that that the normal family is sort of the conservative all-American ‘Leave It To Beaver’ type of family,” Duggin said, “when, in fact, those kind of families no longer represent the typical American household. I think that ‘Stone Soup’ kind of reflects that. It’s a great example of how changes in culture are paralleled by changes in art.”

Community Comments

#1 Sally-Jayne Gilpin
@ 9:25 am

Jan, I love that LCC is on the nephew’s shirt in today’s strip! It made me homesick for Oregon. I love when you add bits that speak to those who have lived there, lived through what you portray. I raised two girls while going to the UofO.

#2 Nancy Byrne
@ 10:21 am

Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your recent story line regarding “Dumbo”. This is indeed my favorite Walt Disney movie. I thoroughy enjoyed it as a child and recently enjoyed watching it with my grandchildren.

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