Ted Forth Versus The Leaves: A Look Back
When you’ve done a daily comic strip for enough years–I’m approaching my 16th year with Sally Forth–it’s only natural that you find yourself doing what are known as “running gags,” themes you can revisit on an annual basis both for a sense of continuity and the fact that it means one less new concept you have to come up with each year.
Some running gags in Sally Forth–okay, one–I adopted when I took over the strip, namely “Sally Forth eats the ears off of Hilary’s Chocolate Easter Bunny,” which was originally designed as a harmless family-fun style prank and is now a running gag about a running gag. Some running gags are relatively new, like closing out each summer with a performance from the New Delhi Monkey Gang. And some I’ve been doing for the past few years, including “Ted Forth achieves new levels of OCD when searching for the perfect Christmas tree,” “Ted Forth must not only defeat but destroy his family in Monopoly,” “Ted Forth tells a rambling, psychotic story about his childhood during a summer nature walk,” “Ted Forth gets into a long, ultimately humiliating battle of wits with a costumed third-grader on Halloween” and “Ted Forth must assassinate another counterpart in his role as a member of the Gilded Hand” (not that I’ve been able to get any of that last one into print…except for when I did).
And, of course, every fall means another chapter in the archetypical “Man Vs. Nature” conflict that is Ted Forth versus foliage. So I thought I would use the occasion of today’s Sunday strip to look back on how something as simple as leaves gently settling on the earth confirms that old grade-school adage, “Sometimes it takes a madman to prove that he is in fact clinically insane.”
And although this last strip from 2008 doesn’t involve Ted’s war on autumn, it does seem to feature a lot of falling leaves. Plus, it did ultimately help set up another curious running gag–the Forths don’t have a friend in the world.