Written & Illustrated by Doug Wright
Published by Drawn & Quarterly
Doug Wright’s Nipper acted as the Canadian equivalent to Bil Keane’s The Family Circus. There are many outward differences – Nipper is multi-paneled and almost entirely silent, whereas Keane’s strip is one image with an accompanying caption, but the overall tone of each strip is remarkably similar. Those gosh-darn kids and their crazy antics!
Wright’s an excellent draftsman, so Nipper looks great. If readers take anything away from the book, it will undoubtedly be an appreciation for Wright’s illustrative prowess. In four to six panels, his elegant line and strong compositions capture the innocent and maddening travails of parenthood. The slick drawings capture the idyllic dream of 1960s family life, a dream continually undermined by the chaotic endings of each sequence.
Doug Wright was a keen observer of the family dynamic, and a powerful, clean illustrator. Combining his talents, he created an engaging, fun family comic strip, now collected by Drawn & Quarterly as Nipper, 1963-64. Taken in book form, the strips read incredibly quickly, giving readers not much more than an hour of enjoyment, but readers who appreciate this innocently charming material will certainly find it an hour well spent.