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Happy News Year’s Eve from Sally Forth!

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on December 31, 2017

It Was 20 Years Ago Today

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on December 29, 2017

On December 29th, 1997, my very first Sally Forth strip appeared.

It wasn’t all that noteworthy, unless it had turned into a running gag about Ted having voyeuristic tendencies and Sally not only having clairvoyant powers but also the telepathic ability to explode heads or at least Jiffy Pop. It wasn’t all that funny, due in part to my accidentally telling my editor I had used friends’ real names (Jonathan and Anne Brack) only to be told I can’t do that and later realize the surname had been changed to Klurn, which contradicts one of the immutable laws of comedy—funny names are never funny, even when you hit the hard “K” sound with a sledgehammer. (I got my friend Ari Jaffe’s name in, though, and practically every single friend in the strip since then.) And it seemed to feature some bizarre class distinction in that Ted and Sally come across as anti-snobs who care for neither fine wine nor the arts but rather pig racing and whatever chablis is served during pig racing. (This would be rectified with Ted’s eventual desire to erase all current obligations, run away, and start the family anew as “The Chadwells,” since that sounded like they owned Lipizzaner stallions.)

All in all, it was a shaky start for someone who had never actually read the strip and only recently been given a 600-page compendium of the comic. But, hey, at least the infamous smirk was there.

I do not miss that smirk. It has not appeared for years and it will never show up again.

And yet somehow 20 years later we wound up both here:

And here:

Both of which Sally Forth artist Jim Keefe said should be compiled in a collection with my new favorite title, Kaiju Parks and Funeral Parlors.

It has been a long, strange, wonderful trip, especially when I realized what a great Trojan horse the comic made for whatever idea I had during fevers and fever relapses. And over these twenty years I got to introduce new characters—Faye, Nona, Jenny, Jackie, Cynthia, Sally’s Mom, Ted’s parents, and that ghost you can’t see because, well, it’s a ghost. And while Sally never gained psychic powers, Hilary, Faye, and Nona all now have a psychic connection. And a band with a string of not-quite hits (“You’re So Party Let’s Go Dancey” and “You’re so Party Let’s Go Dancey Around the Christmas Tree”). And, except for the summers Hil’s boyfriend Jon showed up, a pretty high Bechdel test score.

Sally did, however, get a younger sister, a demanding mother, her ex-boss as her new brother-in-law, and a backstory about her dad that was first introduced in 2005. Meanwhile, said former Lou Grant-like boss Ralph lost his job, married Jackie, had a child, and now teaches business somehow. Hilary finally lost those damn Cindy Brady pigtails. We were introduced to Alice’s children and then soon after said goodbye to Alice, though we may very well be welcoming her back soon. Every character finally got to age. And as for Ted, well…

Okay, that wasn’t exactly canon. Let’s try that again:

Sigh. Okay, one more try:

And yet somehow the differences between the real and non-canonical strips are minimal at best.

Of course, none of this would have been possible if I were not working with some of the truly greatest illustrators in the business. First, Craig Macintosh, who had a perfect sense of character movement and expression, great patience with me during my first thoroughly unremarkable days months years, and proved time and time again to be one of the nicest people anyone could ever meet.

And, of course, Jim Keefe, who before he started sent me a sample of not only the sheer artistry he could bring to Sally Forth but also proved he was already lodged firmly in Ted’s subconscious:

I can never say enough just how much energy and inventiveness Jim has brought to the strip. Here is a man who can draw both Megalon and Jet Jaguar getting into a fight in an amusement park as the twin fairies sing “Mothra, Oh Mothra” as well as a father’s last few hours while a son grieves by his bedside. Here is a man with boundless creative spirit and a willingness to try anything, whether it’s blowing up a small town:

Showcasing almost every Christmas cartoon character imaginable:

Or simply, beautifully, perfectly capturing a sense of loss that says everything words could not:

To say I am extremely fortunate to work with Jim doesn’t even come close to how I feel. He’s made it possible to pursue almost any idea so long as I finally give him enough lead time for once. He brings a level of both dignity and flights of fancy to the strip that bring me joy every day. He looks like he might have starred in Sherlock, The Hobbit trilogy, and the upcoming Black Panther if you quickly glance at him from the corner of your eye. He is someone I feel truly blessed to call a partner and a friend.

And speaking of those I owe immeasurable gratitude to, it is you, the reader. You have stuck with a comic that for good or bad has gone through a major transition from its earliest day. You have shared your stories with us, your connection with the characters, and your willingness to sit through the dumpster fire that is the Star Wars Holiday Special because one character chooses to inflict it upon himself every Black Friday. And it’s that very connection with you that keeps this strip going.

Yes, there are a lot of downsides to social media, but being able to communicate directly with our readers has emboldened us to try new things, create entire new characters and stories, and keep feeling that this strip is truly alive. I’ve always maintained that once any piece of art is complete—whether it be a novel, play, movie, painting, performance, or comic strip—it belongs as much to the reader or viewer as it does the artist. Without that dialogue no art could ever truly exist. In short, your attention is what makes Sally Forth a reality and makes my job a blessing.

And so I am exceedingly grateful for you letting me continue what I do. And hopefully I can keep doing it for another 20 years. Or six days. Whenever the newspaper industry collapses.

Thank you


Ralph at the Sally Forth Christmas Party

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on December 23, 2017

A holiday party has seen by a man who only wanted food, booze, and peace.

Medium Large Comic: Happy Festivus!

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on December 23, 2017

Fun Indoor Activities Now That It’s Officially Winter

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on December 21, 2017

Frosty the Snowman: The Unaired Specials

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on December 20, 2017

Elf Hand ML Banner<

Medium Large Comic: Monday, December 18, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on December 18, 2017

Medium Large Comic: Thursday, December 14, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on December 14, 2017

Medium Large Comic: Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on December 13, 2017

Medium Large Comic: Monday, December 11, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on December 11, 2017

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