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That’s Not the Kind of Conversation You Should Have Over Powdered Toast Cereal!

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on August 8, 2016

SF August 7 2016

Okay, so what the hell is happening in Sally Forth?

When I started writing the summer’s storylines, this is not at all what I envisioned would happen. I had planned Sally and Ted to go on wacky adventures sans Hil. I had expected Hil to have a triumphant summer even sans Faye and Nora. And I had expected Faye and Nora to cement their friendship sans Hil.

But—and this is the sort of answer that sounds either remarkably evasive or indicative of a capricious mindset—the characters had other plans. I have written Sally Forth for close to 19 years. And in that time I have learned to trust the characters in where they take the story. Thus, what started out as a series of carefree seasonal plots became to me a far more intriguing (and to some readers a needlessly depressing) foray into various relationship dynamics. The great thing about writing a comic strip for so long is that the characters have become quite real to me…and so their problems carry far more weight for me as well. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like perfect characters. And I don’t like neat scenarios. But I do like my characters so I won’t do a Lars Von Trier by putting them through the meat grinder for the sake of watching the sausage be made. I will, however, follow them through a tough, even unpleasant, time to get through to the other side.

One reader mentioned that they were happy I was taking over the soap opera strip Judge Parker so I can finally stop using “angsty crap” plots for Sally Forth. And I completely understand that. But one, they don’t know Judge Parker is going to be nothing but cannibalism stories. And two, in the end Sally Forth will always be a light strip. Best friends will always be so close they’re telepathic. Ted will still watch the worst holiday special EVER made the day after Thanksgiving. And Sally will still drink too much whenever her mom visits (somehow I consider that light). But with light you will always cast shadows, otherwise in the end everything will seem intangible, immaterial. And when the darkness has passed and the characters are stronger for it, trust me, everyone will be unwrapping their Log presents over a bowl of Powdered Toast Cereal.

8 Responses

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  1. Stephen Mintz said, on August 8, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    Francesco; You are an incredibly good looking man. You are talented, capricious in the good way, authentic, and downright hilarious. I wish you nothing but the best of success in all your endeavors.

    You fuck with Sally and Ted, however, and you’ll be sleeping with the fishes, got it, cartoon boy?*

    *Note: In this context, “sleeping with the fishes” means falling asleep at approximately the same time your goldfish pets doze off. Like them, however, you will sleep restlessly, constantly worried one of the cats will attack and eat you. Your dreams, like theirs, will be filled with insane jealousy that the damn cats have a bestselling series and all they get is colored flakes.

    Tread carefully, my friend. Very very carefully.

  2. oldskool said, on August 8, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    I looooove when writers take realistic, in-character “risks” like this. It proves the characters are infinitely more meaningful than the mind-numbing blandness of, say, Garfield or Star Trek: Voyager. One-dimensional silly characters, always returning to an increasingly unrealistic status quo. I am giddy to see the ongoing growth of Ted and Sally.

  3. jeremyJB (@jeremyJB) said, on August 9, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    I always wishes that you would bring back Aria. I thought that story-line was gripping.

  4. Joseph Nebus said, on August 9, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    I do appreciate it. The storyline felt out of nowhere the first time I read the first strip introducing it. But with a little more time to it, and particularly this Sunday strip, it feels more right. It hits that blend of being surprising yet in retrospect inevitable and I’m always impressed when a storyteller can manage that.

  5. bpeschel said, on August 9, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    I am eagerly awaiting the cannibalism stories in “Judge Parker.” Who will eat whom first?

  6. Linda G said, on August 10, 2016 at 11:19 am

    You and Stephen King. He says that he is frequently surprised where the characters go as it is often different from what he envisioned at first.

  7. […] Then it draws back, returning to emotional honesty. This summer has had Sally and Ted’s daughter Hilary going off to camp, giving them the chance to live like newlyweds again. And then a few weeks ago they realized they don’t feel that way. That there’s something wrong. Something fixable but they don’t know quite what it is or just how to do it. It was a surprise to them. It surprised me as reader. It surprised Marciuliano when he realized it was going that way. […]

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