My studio is full of memorabilia of the things I loved as a child growing up in the suburbs. Among them is a shelf I have dedicated to the memory of Laurel and Hardy who, in their time, were the funniest two guys on the planet. I couldn't get enough L&H films on TV and reveled in the inevitable disasters to which their simple-minded antics invariably led. It's sad when young people enter my studio and have no clue who these two geniuses were. Their films are never shown except once a year on TCM.
Anyway, so what does this have to do with Umbert? A few years back I decided to include a pair of fraternal twins in the strip and thus I came up with Doby and Toby. What a perfect way, I thought, to pay tribute to my childhood favorites Laurel and Hardy than to model the twins after them. Thus Doby is the chubby, bossy "Ollie" and Toby is the hapless, dull-witted "Stan" (who thinks Doby was adopted).
Doby and Toby are played strictly for laughs; no heavy duty messages or issues with these two. I would imagine that the odds of multiples in the womb being aborted are relatively small though I have heard of instances where it has been done. A couple in Australia reportedly aborted their twins sons because they already had three boys and wanted a girl. Such thinking is beyond my comprehension.
The idea of twins interacting in the womb, however is nothing new. The first recorded instance of it occurs in Genesis, when Jacob and Esau reportedly jostled in their mother's womb. With Doby and Toby, I try to illustrate (as did Laurel and Hardy) that two souls can have a tumultuous relationship and yet still be friends or, in this case, brothers for LIFE.Happy Easter/Happy Passover!