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Universal Press Syndicate newspaper feature:
By Bill Amend
Everyone can relate to having a family member with an unusual hobby or habit. The Fox clan is no different. The youngest Fox is Jason, whose best friend is an iguana named Quincy. His sister, Paige, is a shopaholic. The oldest Fox sibling is Peter, whose stomach is a bottomless pit. But perhaps the most unusual of all is level-headed mom and official family mediator, Andy, who is working through her obsession with the movie Titanic. A slave to her emotions, she is brought to tears at a mere hint of the soundtrack and attends multiple movie screenings each day. This leaves well-meaning husband, Roger, struggling to live up to her new romantic expectations. All of this is par for the course in the hilarious but hectic Fox household.
What makes the Fox clan so entertaining? They're just like us—only funnier—with no sappy sentimentality. Readers can't help but recognize a little bit of themselves in this family strip with its good-hearted, if not eccentric, characters. The Foxes deal with everything from sibling rivalry to marital disagreements over golfing habits to sharing time on the computer, always making us laugh in the process.
FoxTrot has amassed a colossal audience of fans of all ages who eagerly turn to this hilarious strip, whether in newspapers or on the Web. New fans and loyal readers alike will enjoy I'm Flying, Jack . . . I Mean, Roger, a FoxTrot collection. Together, the Fox family provides a witty window on the realities of home life today.
Whether working through the daily disorders of home, school, or office, the Fox family manages to put its special spin on the rigors of the world. Setting the comic tone are mom Andy, whose heroic efforts to make tofu into the fifth food group are legend, and dad Roger, who is a human hazard on the golf course and a threat to the workings of all technologically driven devices. Filling out the cast are the younger Foxes: the eldest and football star wanna-be Peter, shopping guru Paige, and last-but never least-Jason, the family brain trust and his trusty iguana friend, Quincy. Each sports his or her own eccentricities, from Jason's Internet stock, Jasonzonbayhoo dot com, to Peter's teeth-chattering coffee addiction to Paige's harrowing adventures in baby-sitting.
Growing up isn't always fun in real life, but in the world of FoxTrot, it's always worth a laugh. Between overblown science experiments, babysitting jobs from hell, and sibling rivalry honed to an art form, the Fox household reverberates the sounds of a far-out, yet familiar, family life.
One of FoxTrot's great appeals is its understanding of the pains and pleasures of youth. The Fox kids—little brother Jason, the mischievous genius; sister Paige, the boy-crazy shopping fanatic; and big brother Peter, a sports fan with aspirations to be a sports star—interact naturally, which is to say loudly and vigorously. In addition, creator Bill Amend uses many real-life situations and dilemmas modern kids face to frame his stories. "It's a tricky balance," says the artist. "On one hand I have this wonderful opportunity to present good role models to younger readers, but at the same time I want to be funny." And he succeeds. In At Least This Place Sells T-Shirts, parents Andy and Roger continue to preside over the unpredictable household antics of the Fox family.