Shoe (comic strip)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Shoe logo
Author(s)Jeff MacNelly (1977–2000)
Chris Cassatt, Gary Brookins, Ben Lansing, Susie MacNelly
Current status/scheduleDaily & Sunday
Launch dateSeptember 13, 1977
Syndicate(s)Tribune Media Services (1977–August 2008)[1]
King Features (2008–present)

Shoe is an American comic strip about a motley crew of newspapermen, all of whom are birds. It was written and drawn by its creator, cartoonist Jeff MacNelly, from September 13, 1977,[2] until his death in 2000. MacNelly's last strip was dated July 9, 2000;[3] it has since been continued by Chris Cassatt, Gary Brookins, Ben Lansing, and Susie MacNelly (Jeff's widow).[4]

While not politically oriented in the style of strips such as Doonesbury, Shoe often pokes fun at various social and political issues of the day (especially when Senator Batson D. Belfry makes an appearance). Although not particularly well known outside the U.S., Shoe was in fact granted its own monthly comic book in Norway for a brief time in 1987 under the name "Sjur," which consisted of reprints from newspapers. The magazine reached a total of six publications. Later on, in 1989, Shoe did a brief comeback to Norwegian readers, this time under the name "Krax," appearing as an extra-feature in the then brand-new Calvin & Hobbes magazine.

The strip won MacNelly the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award for the year 1979.

Characters and setting[edit]

Shoe deals with the day-to-day foibles of a group of newspaper employees and their families, all of whom are portrayed as anthropomorphized birds, in the fictional locale of Treetops, East Virginia. During hunting season, "hunting dogs" (hounds with rifles, a visual pun on the sharp-sniffing canines that hunters use to track game) are occasionally featured.

Characters Species[5] Description
P. Martin "ShoeShoemaker purple martin The cigar-smoking editor of The Treetops Tattler-Tribune, whose difficulties with his various ex-wives is legendary. He is the boss of Cosmo and Loon with a very similar management style to Mr. Dithers in the comic series Blondie. He was patterned after Jim Shumaker whom MacNelly worked for at the Chapel Hill (NC) Weekly.
Prof. Cosmo Fishhawk (usually called the "Perfessor") osprey

The overeducated but underachieving osprey columnist whose computer expertise is almost as poor as his understanding of women. He is always seen wearing a tweed blazer and striped necktie, and his trademark desk is always overflowing with a very tall stack of papers, extending beyond the frame. Although the title of the strip is Shoe, Cosmo is arguably the main character, as the majority of the strips revolve around his life. He is sometimes shown driving a 1959 DeSoto.

Roz Specklehen[6][7] unknown[5]

Waitress at, and likely owner of the local diner (Roz's Roost) where many of the characters gather.

Skyler skylark

An overeducated but underachieving nephew whom Cosmo is raising. A recurring gag has him repeatedly attend Marine recruit training by mistake during the summer, then write a series of letters to Uncle Cosmo.

Sen. Batson D. Belfry unknown

An evasive beltway blowhard, seemingly patterned after Tip O'Neill and Ted Kennedy, and whose name is a pun of "bats in the belfry".

Irving "Irv" Seagull gull

A local repairman. A pun on the service-station chain Irving Oil Corporation.[citation needed]

Loon loon

A mail and newspaper carrier whose aeronautic skills are the subject of recurring jokes, based on former Vietnam POW Navy pilot Paul Galanti.[citation needed]

Wiz merlin

The "Merlin of motherboards," he appears as a wizard in a pointed hat and star-covered robe, carrying a magic wand. He is often called in by The Perfessor to fix his office computer. ("Okay, first, let's get your fist out of the computer screen.")

Biz unknown A nonagenarian bird often encountered at Roz's Roost complaining of age-related foibles.
Mort vulture Operator of Mort's Mortuary, the local funeral home.
Madame ZooDoo unknown Local crystal ball-gazing psychic.
Older characters no longer seen
Muffy Hollandaise unknown

Secretary and occasional reporter at The Treetops Tattler-Tribune.

Bumpkins stork(?)

The "Perfessor"'s manservant/butler, acquired in an inheritance.

Collections and reprints[edit]

(All titles by Jeff MacNelly)

  • The Very First Shoe Book (1978) Avon
  • The Other Shoe (1980) Avon
  • Shoe Extra (1980) Yaffa Publishing (Australia)
  • The New Shoe (1981) Avon
  • On with the Shoe! (1982) Holt, Rinehart & Winston
  • A Shoe for All Seasons (1983) HRW
  • The Shoe Must Go On (1984) HRW
  • The Greatest Shoe on Earth (1985) HRW
  • One Shoe Fits All (1986) HRW
  • How Many Next Years Do You Get in Baseball?: Shoe Goes to Wrigley Field (1988) Bonus Books
  • Too Old for Summer Camp and Too Young to Retire (1988) St. Martin's Press
  • A Cigar Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry (1989) St. Martin's Press
  • Shake the Hand, Bite the Taco (1990) St. Martin's Press
  • Apply a Little Hardware to the Software (1991) Quark Prods.
  • The Athletic Shoe (1991) St. Martin's Press
  • Out to Lunch: A Brand New Shoe (1993) Tribune Publishing
  • New Shoes (1994) Contemporary Books
  • Play Ball! All I Ever Learned I Forgot by the Third Inning (1999) Triumph
  • From Couch Potato to Mouse Potato: Success Tips for the Technically Impaired (1978) Triumph
  • 27 Years of Shoe: World Ends at Ten, Details at Eleven (2004) Andrews McMeel


  1. ^ Press release. "King Features to Syndicate Shoe Comic Strip: Distribution of Popular Feature Begins September 1, 2008," Business Wire (August 2008).
  2. ^ "About Jeff MacNelly 1947–2000". Retrieved 2009-07-17.
  3. ^ Holtz, Allan (2012). American Newspaper Comics: An Encyclopedic Reference Guide. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. p. 349. ISBN 9780472117567.
  4. ^ "Gary Brookins Retires; New Pluggers Fill His Shoes". 27 May 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Live Online". 2001-07-23. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
  6. ^ MacNelly, Susie (26 April 2022). "Shoe". Comics Kingdom. King Features. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  7. ^ "Comics Kingdom | Shoe by Gary Brookins and Susie MacNelly".

External links[edit]