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Craig MacIntosh Greg Howard Sally Forth

Meeting Greg Howard

 Cut to the Minikahda Country Club the summer of 1982 where a high school age Jim Keefe is busy bussing tables. The goal is to someday become a comic book artist, but there’s no clear path for that pipe dream.

The buzz Keefe overhears from the ritzy club members is about a local lawyer who had quit his well paying profession to become – of all the crazy things – Sagunto a cartoonist.

The lawyer/cartoonist’s name was  http://livingriver.eu/?page_id=708 Greg Howard.

Greg Howard 1982
Greg Howard – circa 1982
Pic by  Alan Light from the 
1982 Mpls Comic Con.

The comic strip, Sally Forth.

With the cartoon landscape of the early 1980s showing woman only in the role of housewives, Sally Forth would become part of a new generation of comic strips – along with Lynn Johnston’s For Better or For Worse and Cathy Guisewite’s, Cathy – that showed woman taking center stage in a more modern setting.

Strips from the inaugural first week of Sally Forth.

Because of this, and the fact that the strips were original and funny, success in newspaper syndication followed.

Minneapolis Star – January 8, 1982

Jump ahead to 1998 and I would be working on staff as a colorist at King Features Syndicate when Greg Howard would decide to retire from his writing chores on Sally (now drawn by Craig MacIntosh). I sent him a letter relaying the Minikahda Country Club story along with a Sally Forth collection from the early days that King had in-house.

His reply:

Thanks for your nice letter and the copy of the first “Sally Forth” book. It was very thoughtful of you to pass it along.

It’s true that I sold Sally to King Features and have skulked off into the sunset. I’ve spent the summer enjoying the relief from the inexorable deadlines. You’re familiar with those. I’m not sure what comes next but haven’t grown overly anxious about it yet.

I enjoyed your story about the Minikahda club gossip revolving around my career change 20 years ago. Thanks for sharing it with me.

Greg Howard


I got to meet Greg Howard just once in 2012 before I took over the drawing chores on Sally Forth. Francesco Marciuliano was writing Sally by this time and I had been working as an assistant to Craig MacIntosh for a couple years. Craig suggested we meet with Greg in regards to working out me signing on with King as the new artist.

It was truly memorable as Craig hadn’t seen Greg for awhile and I got to watch two comic strip greats catch up and just shoot the sh*t over lunch. I had brought along a King Features sales kit of Sally Forth from back in the day and took the following pic.

Greg Howard and Craig MacIntosh circa 2012

Sally Forth is 40 years old as of January 2022 with Francesco Marciuliano at the helm writing and myself drawing. It’s a different comic strip than when Greg Howard and Craig MacIntosh were steering the ship, but Francesco and I wouldn’t have this gig if not for the bedrock of success Greg Howard’s original Sally Forth had. To that I say, many thanks – and hope Mr. Howard is still “enjoying the relief from the inexorable deadlines”

-Jim Keefe

Categories
Craig MacIntosh Sally Forth

Adieu to a Sally Forth Easter Tradition

Title

“As Jim Keefe and I prepare to enter “Phase Two” of the “Sally Forth Comic Strip Universe” this September (or “Phase 147,” depending on how many times you think I’ve altered/ruined the strip in my 22 years of writing it), we begin to say farewell to a few of the hallmark stories that made “Sally Forth”—in the words of one critical rave—”Available in print and online.”

First up is “Sally Forth Eats the Ears off Her Own Child’s Chocolate Easter Bunny Every Year,” a long-ago inherited running gag that began what I assume as a touching tribute to poor boundary issues and in the last two decades has evolved into a loving tale of parental mind games and ensuing childhood mental breakdowns.”

– Francesco Marcuiliano
Easter 2019


So without further ado, presenting a nostalgic chocolate bunny-eared look back at a Sally Forth Easter tradition!

Side note and further ado…
Sally Forth first premiered in 1982 written and drawn by Greg Howard. The bunny ear storyline retrospective shown here only goes back to 1999 due to the digital files that were available.

For those keeping track: The writing credit switch from Greg Howard to Francesco Marciuliano can be found on the top of the strip in the credit line.

For art credit: The strips start off in 1999 with Craig Macintosh handling the drawing chores, then in 2011 Craig hired Jim Keefe to assist with inking and coloring the Sunday pages. The March 31, 2013 Sunday page was where Jim was in charge of the whole package – pencils, inks, lettering and coloring.

– Click on images to see larger –

1999


2000


2001

Infamous non-bunny ear themed strip.

 


2002


2003


2004

2004.04.11


2005

2005.03.27


2006

2006.04.09

2006.04.16


2007

2007.04.01

2007.04.08


2008

2008.03.23


2009

2009.04.12


2010

2010.03.28

2010.04.04


2011

2011.04.24


2012

2012.04.08


2013

2013.03.24

2013.03.31


2014

2014.04.13

2014.04.20


2015

2015.03.29

2015.04.05


2016

2016.03.20


2017


2018


2019


2020


2021

 


2022

The 2022 Sally Forth Sunday pays homage to Brian Bolland’s art in the iconic “Killing Joke” Batman story.

 


Special Added Bonus!
Here’s two links to the Sunday Comics Department blog’s spotlight on chocolate bunny ears past – Greg Howard edition!
Chew Your Ears Off

Getting a Leg Up

And now an unabashed plug…

If Sally Forth isn’t in your local paper you can check it out online at…

ComicsKingdomLogo

A yearlong subscription to all of King Features’ comics (new and vintage) plus ten years worth of archives for every single strip is a pittance at $19.99 a year!

Categories
Artists - Cartoonists Craig MacIntosh Francesco Marciuliano Sally Forth

2008 Sally Forth/Pearls Before Swine Crossover

The following email exchange is from 2007. I grabbed it from Francesco’s Marciuliano’s blog, Francesco Explains It All. It’s between Pearls Before Swine creator, Stephan Pastis, and Sally Forth’s writer, Francesco Marciuliano.


Hey Francesco…

My name is Stephan Pastis…I do a strip called “Pearls Before Swine”….I’m real sorry to be a bother, but is there any chance i could get a right-facing full body pose of Ted from you?….I’ve looked through the strips online and can’t seem to find one…

I’m doing a series where my main character, Rat, is a concierge at a hotel, and I’d love to have Ted approach him trying to hire a prostitute for the night…he needs a break from Sally….

Stephan


Stephan:

Okay, I’ve read this message three times and I’m still laughing.

I don’t do the artwork but I can get you said sketch (actually, I can do it for you. I’ve done enough joke strips of the characters that I can draw them pretty accurately). However, there are a few conditions:

1. If this is indeed not a joke–and you are indeed Stephan–can I have the original artwork?
2. For the love of God, please make it a typical prostitute, not a tranny or some 14-year-old Haitian boy. My syndicate will be weeping enough as is.
3. Can I have the original artwork?
4. Ted is still unemployed, so cost will be an issue. With few dollars to his name we may be talking more a quick yank behind the dumpster than anything else.
5. Can I post your email request on my site? I know that may ruin the surprise of the gag but trust me, the fact Ted’s cruising for a woman is going to be enough of a shock to bring in the readers.
6. Can I have the original artwork?

Ces


And here’s how it all played out. The March 27, 2008 Pearls Before Swine is followed by Sally Forth for the same date.

Note: Sally Forth artwork from 2008 by Craig MacIntosh.

PearlsBeforeSwine

Click on artwork to see larger.

Speaking of Pearls before Swine, here’s Stephan Pastis getting an art assist (in the middle panel of the following strip) by none other than Bill Watterson.

watterson

More on that here…
Ever Wished That Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Would Return to the Comics Page? Well, He Just Did.


Personal note – I had the pleasure of meeting Stephan (or as I call him, Mr. Pastis) back on October 14, 2011 when he gave a Visiting Artist lecture at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

MCAD recorded the lecture and made it available on Vimeo – so without further ado…

For more on Stephan Pastis, check out Stephan Pastis’ blog – it features video, interviews, appearances and much, much more. I highly recommend it!

-Jim Keefe