When I was a kid I loved cereal. Not so much cereal as a food, mind you, though I did go through a phase in which I consumed “Cocoa Puffs,” then “Cocoa Pebbles” and then no doubt “Malt Balls and Chocolate Espresso Beans in Hot Cocoa” had the immense sugar intake not caused be to start vibrating so violently I momentarily shifted into another dimension, which ultimately served as the basis for at least three Sid & Mart Krofft TV series.
No, mostly I loved cereal for the package design, a clear by product of having a graphic designer for a dad (though, oddly enough, my dad’s other professional pursuit as pornography illustrator did not lead to a lifelong lover affair with hardcore nudity shot in poor light and set to a thumping bass line). I first fell in love with the classic UPA-style artwork prominently featured on cereal boxes from the 1960s, and then became fascinated with the very notion of cereal spokescharacters from the sublime to something that can only best be described as “Care Bears meet the baby from Eraserhead.”
I often wondered what kind of person would pursue such a line of work. What would make someone want to dedicate their life to extolling the virtues of riboflavin and distilled monoglycerides? And. most importantly, how does one even score such a gig?
Alas, as the melding of mind with that of Sally Forth character Ted Forth continues unabated, my obsession with cereal spokescharacters has become Ted’s fixation, resulting in today’s strip (property of King Features Syndicate)…
Which, naturally, leads us to a further revelation about the “blue ghost one”…
And then, ultimately, into utterly regrettable marketing choices…
Please join me next time when I share the real-life background story to Ted Forth’s all-too-consuming passion with Micronauts.
Not everything written for comic strips makes it into print. People–discerning, diplomatic people who sign my paychecks–often intervene, editing those panels that may be best left to the sketchpad than the newspaper. And when it comes to Sally Forth, those very panels always seem to involve Ted.
And so as I sit bleary eyed at my writing table–which also serves as my coffee table, my dinner table and my “good cry” table–trying to determine which ideas are fit for public consumption and which are faint cries for help from a psyche that now just shrugs whenever I use copious hanging thread so I can enjoy flocks of rubber duckies in the shower (I point them in one direction in the winter, the other in the spring so I can exclaim, “You’ve come back to The Ces!”), I present to you another collection of unpublished Ted Forth musings.
Despite the soul-crushing loneliness, the heart-wrenching isolation, the head-pounding untreated medical condition; despite the hollow echo of one’s own voice in lieu of meaningful dialogue, the feverish handwritten love notes to old Hanna-Barbera characters in lieu of true companionship, the relentless screaming in lieu of being able to afford a cell phone; despite the lack of hope in finding a friend, the want for any semblance of human contact or the complete dearth of any music whatsoever as you slow dance naked to your own diminishing pulse in the corner of the storage unit that would cost you upwards of $15 a month to live in if it were indeed your storage unit, cartooning is not the solitary profession I assumed it be would be when I was young and so pathologically shy that I thought it best to hide in the woods than get that transplant I still kinda desperately need.
In fact, cartooning involves a lot of communication with one’s professional, financial and visually pleasing betters, often utilizing such phrases as “Where’s that strip?” “We can’t publish that strip” or “If it helps you get out of that storage unit, we can pay you in pants.” But it’s that middle phrase I wish to focus on today. You see, over the course of the 13 years I’ve written Sally Forth–first with a cowriter I never actually met, then alone and now with a rabbit only I can see–some comic strip panels failed to reach your newspaper due to prudent editing on the part of my editors (see “professional, financial and visually pleasing betters” above). And for reasons that I have yet to fully comprehend, all those edited panels prominently feature the title character’s husband, Ted Forth.
So this week, for the first time, I’m going to share those expurgated panels with you, the readers who gave up on comic strips long ago and come to sites such as this hoping to read new webcomics that I haven’t been able to post for the past few days because my scanner isn’t working and I hate it so much and life is just one goddamn relentless kick in the nads occasionally interrupted for Bowflex ads.
I hope you enjoy the following and if you have any questions please ask your local god. They usually have the answers or at least can open a dialogue that doesn’t engage in false self-deprecation or use of the word “nads.” Thank you.