April 6th, 2017
This week, we’re reading Sally Forth, the classic comic strip about the irrepressible working woman, Sally, her husband Ted, their daughter, Hillary, and their friends, family, and coworkers.
Written by Francesco Marciuliano and Jim Keefe, Sally Forth is a powerhouse of nerdery and the realities of being an adult in a world that never quite lets you feel like you’ve completely grown up.
Sally Forth was created by Greg Howard in 1982. In 1999, Greg left the strip, and Francesco Marciuliano began writing Sally and her family. Jim Keefe has been drawing the strip since 2013, when he took over for Craig Macintosh. Under their stewardship, Sally Forth continues to be one of the best representatives of genuine modern-life on the comics pages.
Sally is a hypercompetent, successful businesswoman who also has a fantastic, loving family– fictional proof that a woman could do both at a time when many still challenged that idea. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have her own foibles and quirks– from getting lost in corn mazes to eating the ears of Hillary’s chocolate Easter bunny every year, Sally is lovably odd in a way that feels authentic and that leave us laughing.
Ted, too, is the quintessential nerd– he’s never quite “grown up,” even though, like Sally, he’s had a successful career, coaches Little League, and is an altogether great dad and husband. But in spite of the veneer of respectability, Ted is very much a child at heart, who has big dreams about robot monkey armies.
And Hillary is just your typical kid– but her close relationships with her friends, Faye and Nona, are the heart of Sally Forth. Seeing the way she learns to communicate, empathize, and interact as she grows up leaves us remembering our own school days– there’s so much resonance in her friends’ love for each other and in their quarrels.
Jim Keefe’s also keeps the characters real, with a great deal of expression in fairly simple character designs.
We love the way Sally Forth mixes topical, current humor with emotions and character relationships that feel true to life, and the way it balances really well just between story strip, with ongoing plots, and the kind of gag humor that doesn’t require a ton of backstory to dive right into.
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