I have never knowingly aped another cartoonist in Arlo and Janis, but looking at this strip I can’t help but see a little Doonesbury influence. It could have been unconscious, or it could have been coincidence. Not even I can say for sure. However, little Arlo’s expression in the third panel makes him look like a Trudeau character, Boopsie to be exact, and his father’s deadpan reaction sounds like something Mark Slackmeyer’s father might have said.
This, by the way, was a Saturday strip. When working on a continuing storyline, a cartoonist really has only five days with which to work. Many small daily newspapers don’t publish a Saturday edition, so it’s wise to avoid a Saturday installment that greatly affects plot development. The prudent cartoonist runs in place on Saturday with a gag that is related to events but stands alone.