Shoe the Comic Strip is one of the most beloved and long-running comic strips in history. Created by cartoonist Jeff MacNelly in 1977, it quickly gained popularity for its witty humor and relatable characters. But who exactly was Jeff MacNelly, and what inspired him to create such a beloved comic strip?
The Life of Jeff MacNelly
Jeffrey Kenneth “Jeff” MacNelly was born on September 17, 1947, in New York City. He grew up in Ohio and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After college, he began working as a political cartoonist for the Richmond News Leader in Virginia.
MacNelly quickly gained a reputation for his biting political humor and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 1972. He would go on to win two more Pulitzer Prizes throughout his career.
In addition to his work as a political cartoonist, MacNelly was also an accomplished comic strip creator. In addition to Shoe, he also created two other popular comic strips: Pluggers and Out of Bounds.
The Inspiration Behind Shoe
MacNelly created Shoe in 1977 while working for the Chicago Tribune. The strip followed the daily lives of a group of newspaper employees at The Treetops Tattler, a fictional newspaper located in the town of Treetops.
The main character of the strip is Shoe, a cynical but lovable reporter who often finds himself at odds with his editor (and close friend) Bossman. Other notable characters include Skyler (a flighty weatherman), Cosmo (a sports columnist), and Roz (the paper’s receptionist).
According to interviews with MacNelly, Shoe was inspired by his own experiences working at newspapers throughout his career. Many of the characters were based on real-life colleagues and friends he had encountered along the way.
The Legacy of Shoe
Shoe quickly gained a large and devoted following and was syndicated in over 1,000 newspapers worldwide. The strip’s popularity led to several collections of MacNelly’s work being published, including “The Very First Shoe Book” and “Shoe: As They Were.”
Tragically, Jeff MacNelly passed away at the age of 52 in 2000 from lymphoma. He left behind a rich legacy of political cartoons and comic strips that continue to be beloved by fans around the world.
Today, Shoe continues to be syndicated in newspapers around the world, even after MacNelly’s passing. The strip is now created by artist Chris Cassatt and writer Gary Brookins, who worked alongside MacNelly for many years before his death.
In conclusion, Jeff MacNelly was a talented cartoonist who left behind a rich legacy of work that continues to be loved by fans around the world. While he may no longer be with us, his creation of the beloved comic strip Shoe will live on for generations to come.