Jeff MacNelly’s Shoe celebrates 35 years in newspapers

Shoe retrospective story-line
Next week Jeff MacNelly?s Shoe will turn 35. Jeff?s wife Susie, Chris Cassatt and Gary Brookins, who are producing the strip now, have created a special retrospective series that takes Skyler, one of the strip’s characters, back in time to 1977 to meet Jeff.

From the press release:

The week-long retrospective kicks off with Skyler traveling back to Jeff MacNelly’s studio where he finds the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist hunched over his drawing table in front of a blank piece of paper searching for an idea. Shocked and awed to find himself back in 1977, Skyler goes on a mission to find a memento that proves to the Treetops crew that he, in fact, traveled back in time. Along the way, Skyler stumbles upon Steve Jobs’ childhood home, the birthplace of the first Apple computer, and Game 6 of the 1977 World Series at Yankees Stadium where Reggie Jackson hit a record-breaking three home runs.

Shoe was created in 1977 and focuses on the foibles of a group of newspaper employees at the Treetops-Tattler Tribune. Several of the characters were based on Jeff?s family and co-workers. P. Martin Shoemaker – the title character was based on Jim “Shu” Shumaker, an editor at the Chapel Hill Weekly where Jeff started his career, and Roz is based on his wife Susie.

Jeff was a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner for editorial cartooning. His influence on cartooning cannot be understated. In addition to his editorial cartoons for the Chicago Tribune and his Shoe comic strip, Jeff created the comic panel Pluggers, and illustrated Dave Barry?s weekly column. He passed away in 2000 of lymphoma.

11 thoughts on “Jeff MacNelly’s Shoe celebrates 35 years in newspapers

  1. Congratulations on 35 years and on the 12 years of keeping it going nicely since Jeff’s untimely death in 2000. That can’t have been easy to carry on the work of a genius, but Shoe fans like me are very grateful.

  2. Congrats! What a great long run. It’s a wonderful strip and always beautifully drawn. It was the drawing style that attracted me to the strip initially. Very few cartoons are drawn so well. Best wishes and 35 years more, at least!

  3. Shoe is one of my favorites. It depicts how human we all are (even if the characters are birds). Our weaknesses, our vices, our failings are all exemplified in Shoe–but somehow the comic strip pays tribute to us for coping with those shortcomings. I rank it above Peanuts, in fact–to date, Shoe has never been over-commercialized with stuffed dolls, TV specials, calendars, amusement parks or used to sell life insurance (although there was once a line of greeting cards with Shoe characters).

  4. Happy 35th. anniversary, Shoe! I first discovered it in the Washington Post when the strip was launched.

  5. Darryl,

    Are you sure you first saw Shoe in the Washington Post? The Chicago Tribune ran Shoe from the beginning too (looking at their electronical archive) unless you got the Sun-Times or another paper.

    As for Tampa Bay, the Times ran Shoe from the beginning and still does. I think The Tribune ran Shoe from the beginning but had dropped the strip at some point in the ’90s. But in a twist, when the Tribune decided to drop For Better or For Worse two years ago, it was replaced by Dilbert (Mon-Sat.) which moved from the business page and on Sunday, it was interestingly replaced by Shoe.

    So at least both Tampa Bay area papers ran the Sunday strip from the flashback but the Times will run the entire storyline.

  6. The Shoe Crew,

    Congradulations on 35 years of a bird’s eye view of things.
    1977 was the year Star Wars was released. It was not know as the first Star Wars movie, it was the ONLY Star Wars movie. Great special effects, and a great sound track.
    Maybe Skyler can buy an 8 track tape of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album. Another media item that has stood the test of time.


    Greg Putnam
    High School class ’77

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