Friday, November 14, 2008

E is for?

Today's Hi and Lois offers an exploration of discord across generations, pitting the smugness of the young against the seething rage of the old(er). Rage! — sing, goddess, the rage of Hiram Flagston!

The bookcase sums up the imaginative impoverishment of these characters: it functions as a display surface for a baseball, the bookends keeping three books from toppling to ruin. And yet the same bookcase is a goad to the reader's imagination: for what's up with that E?

It might stand for Elaine, who suggests that it fell from one of the books. I thought it might be a note to the colorist, though the bookcase isn't ecru. Or is E for enigma? I may never know.

Related reading
All Hi and Lois posts

comments: 15

12xuser said...

Love the little sailor hat. Is that what the kids are wearing these days?

Slywy said...

The one bookend is colored to match the bookcase in the second panel, but not the first.

The E is obviously from Einstein's formula. Doesn't everyone have his theories on their bookshelves to state "I'm intelligent enough to understand the big E!"?

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for pointing out the hat, 12xuser. I think the strip in anticipating real-world fashion trends.

Very observant, Slywy. Maybe the bookend ate the E and got sick.

j said...

I like Elaine's very Alice in Wonderland explanation.

Or, maybe, in the tradition of Alvin and Shooey- some type of secret code? A sign to a particular reader? Oh, I love a mystery. Do you think Lois is mixed up in it?

More mundane- one of the kids with a crayon.

Michael Leddy said...

If I were Lois, I'd be spending a lot of time at the "new" office (i.e., the office with the sign facing the street).

I sometimes wonder whether the seeming carelessness is in fact some very inside joke. If the E is from a kid's crayon, that would suggest that the time that passes between Hi and Lois panels is, in theory, unlimited.

j said...

"...the time that passes between Hi and Lois panels is, in theory, unlimited."

Don't go getting all existential on me.

Inside jokes- I think you're on to something

Jai said...

- Browne spells his name from right to left, starting with the "E", and realized too late that there wasn't room on the shelf for the whole thing?

- If it were red, it could have been a symbol for "ready".

- If it were a "9", I could have made a "7 ate 9" joke when it failed to reappear on the next panel.

- I actually only have the one theory, which even I recognize is pure garbage. I am more thoroughly confused by this very nicely-lettered "E" than by anything else I've seen in Hi & Lois. Perhaps THAT was the intent?

Michael Leddy said...

Very nice, Jai. I'm glad you saw this one, I mean, this E.

Slywy said...

In defense of the sailor hat, that kid's been wearing it the life of the strip, which is caught in a time warp. Which kind of fits my Einstein theory. Sort of.

Elaine Fine said...

Caught in a moment of weakness, I responded to the meme of seven. And now I have tagged you.

macon d said...

Probably old hat, but have you seen Marmaduke Explained?

Michael Leddy said...

Yep. There's also Nietzsche Family Circus, which open fifth pointed me to some time ago. Sometimes the old hats are so old that when one goes back to them, they're new again.

Anonymous said...

E = inner Energy

as explained by William Shatner.

And were Shatner and Hi separated at birth???

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for that link, Yibpl!

There is a resemblance, though Shatner's part doesn't shift from one side of his head to the other.

Elaine Fine said...

Does Shatner still have his own hair?