King Features to syndicate Shoe

King Features will begin to syndicate Jeff MacNelly’s Shoe starting September 1 for dailies and the 7th for Sundays. The strip is currently produced by Gary Brookins, Chris Cassatt and Jeff’s widow Susie.

“We are delighted to be syndicating the creation of one of the country’s all-time top cartooning talents,” said Brendan Burford, King Features comics editor. “Jeff MacNelly was universally loved by his peers in our industry and his comic strip continues to be universally loved by his loyal fans. The creative team behind the strip today has done a magnificent job of keeping the strip fresh, funny and topical, and certainly true to its creator’s vision.”

Last December, news broke that Susie had sued Tribune Media Syndicate who tried to block her attempt to move the feature to King Features based on contract provision regarding rights of first refusal. When contacted by E&P, Susie declined to comment on how the lawsuit may have been resolved.

7 thoughts on “King Features to syndicate Shoe

  1. Since various properties of Tribune are for sale, the company would do well to sell the few remaining TMS comic properties to King, and King would do well to purchase them. Otherwise, Dick Tracy, Annie, and Gasoline Alley may continue dying slow deaths and not be allowed to have some dignity before they die. It is my belief in seeing the way they’ve handled their own classic properties that King would put more effort into the remaining days of these once great strips.

  2. I understand your feelings, Malc, but I have to agree with Jeff. King Features manages to keep its classic strips true to the creator’s vision and still fresh. Whether they’re your cup of tea or not, I think you’d find “Prince Valiant” and “Barney Google and Snuffy Smith” still have integrity and great artwork.
    And while the continuity strips may be an acquired taste, if you haven’t tried them you might be surprised at how quickly you find yourself pulled in. And the look of the art is undeniably compelling; Graham Nolan gives” Rex Morgan, M.D.” a touch of Batman flare. I admit to a possible bias but, couldn’t resist chiming in.

  3. Margaret, what you’ve said about King, unfortunately, is not always true, and far short of what they should be doing — but King has done the *best* job among a sorry group of syndicates in maintaining life in classic strips. And Malc, while Dick Tracy, Annie, and Gasoline Alley will die, TMS is letting them “die without honor.” Such once great strips don’t deserve that. I’d rather the strips see their remaining years in the hands of a syndicate who will allow them some dignity. Of course, it is all speculation that Tribune is looking to sell the TMS comics, I’m just saying IF they decide to do that, I’m hoping King would step up to the plate and purchase them. After all, it would be of more benefit for TMS to sell their comic properties than to let them slip away into death — at that point there will be nothing to sell.

  4. Dick Tracy, Annie & Gasoline Alley died a VERY long time ago, nothing can ever spark these decomposing relics of once great strips back to life.

    I’m not saying this as a criticism of the current artists, they are all VERY talented–but–even the talented musicians playing on Titanic’s deck couldn’t stop the ship from sinking.

    It would be better for Lynn to convert FBOFW into a fresh Sunday only feature (ala Opus) or continue it as occasional graphic novels. To ‘redux’ 30 year old art (which is what attracted us to the strip in the first place) is a waste of her great talent, IMHO.

  5. I would not say that “Shoe” is a “once great” comic strip as another commentator said. I will say that “Shoe” is as good, if not better than when Jeff was alive. Here’s the facts:

    In 1992 at the National Cartoonist Society Convention, Jeff MacNelly met Chris Cassatt. Chris, Gary Brookins, Jeff’s wife Susie along with a team of advisers put together by MacNelly personally, worked with Jeff to make Shoe even better. When Jeff died of lymphoma in 2000, the team didn’t miss a step. It is created the same way it was from the late 1980s through MacNelly’s passing. It is no different today, with one exception: I believe that MacNelly would have sued TMS long before his patient wife Susie did.

    I may seem biased. I am the curator archivist for the MacNelly estate. I also freelance with other cartoonists as a consultant. I can’t help the perception that legacy strips are not as good as they were when the originating artist was still alive. The truth is, some legacy strips are as good, some aren’t. I will argue until the cows come home that Shoe is actually better than it was when Jeff was still smoking the place up with his Ashton Maduros penning Shoe. editorial cartoons and fine art himself.

    I think particularly in the age of post-modernism, where humor is replaced by surreal eclectic and edgy strips, that seem only to desire to attract hipsters. A comic is to drop a joke: humor to start one’s day. I don’t want to wonder about Pippy the Zinhead’s LSD trip. *Yech!*: Something new, definitely does not mean better.

    Though I know most people don’t agree with me on this, I think we all agree that the move of “Shoe” to King from the sinking Tribune ship is a wise one.


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