It's not exactly my favorite strip in the paper--that would be either Arlo & Janis, F Minus, Luann or Doonesbury. But it was the most consistent strip in terms of effort during the almost two months in which I winnowed out what I considered the worst strip in the Strib's funny section each day. Sally Forth has changed a lot over the decades, or at least it's seemed so to me. Both the art (currently by Jim Keefe) and the writing (currently Francesco Marciuliano) have changed hands during its run. The characters weren't always insane, right? And it wasn't always a dense repository of twisted observational humor and pop culture, was it? I don't know. But Sally Forth, which gives unusual weight to holidays and annual traditions, is perhaps at its strongest during the extended holiday season from Halloween to New Year's. It benefitted from adorable art and cozy scenes--things like Christmas trees and gingerbread cookies made the experience of reading it heartwarming as well as humorous. And yesterday's Sunday strip was a fitting climax for the whole affair, a homage to the wacky inventions in the art of Dr. Seuss with as much humor in every panel as most strips muster in their entirety.
The runner-up was surprising: Stone Soup, an ordinarily somewhat drab and predictable feature about a fairly ordinary family. The writing is sometimes clever, but it's not usually brilliant--it just happened to be going through the equivalent of sweeps week during my little contest, with an extended storyline about the question of whether Val and Phil will ever get engaged. This gave it a profundity that lifted it above the pack. I was also surprised that Judge Parker narrowly made it to third place. I stopped reading it long ago, but I guess I should start again.
4. Luann 5. Heart of the City 6. Doonesbury 7. F Minus 8. For Better or For Worse 9. DIlbert 10. Arlo & Janis