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A long-running newspaper comic strip begun in 1977 by Jeff MacNelly. It centralizes on a cast of anthropomorphic bird characters, and is titled after a purple martin character named P. Martin Shoemaker, who runs a newspaper called The Treetops Tattler. Other prominent characters include Prof. Cosmo Fishhawk (usually called "Perfessor"); Roz, the owner of a local treetop diner; Skyler, a younger bird; and Loon, a mail carrier and former pilot.
MacNelly worked on this strip and his lesser-known second strip, Pluggers, in addition to doing illustrations for Dave Barry columns and several political cartoons. In 1997, he turned over Pluggers to Gary Brookins; following MacNelly's death in 2000, Brookins took most of the work that MacNelly had previously illustrated, with help from Chris Cassatt and MacNelly's wife, Susie, on Shoe.
The strip can be read here.
- Anthropomorphic Shift: According to the foreword of one book, the birds were initially a lot less humanlike, and "Roz's Roost" was little more than a bird feeder.
- Big Eater: Older strips made Cosmo out to be this.
- Character Blog: Not so much a blog, but the Shoe website runs a Treetops Tattler section written in the character of Cosmo.
- Furry Reminder: Sometimes the punchline will actually rely on the fact that the main characters are all birds. Sometimes they even fly!
- Greasy Spoon: Roz's Roost.
- Must Have Nicotine: Shoe almost always smokes a cigar.
- Nerd Glasses: Skyler
- Non-Mammal Mammaries: Occurs with every female bird that's ever appeared in the strip. Quoth The Comics Curmudgeon:
"I dunno, there's something about the combination of beaks and feathers with some distinctly, er, mammalian characteristics that just utterly squicks me out."
- Print Long Runners: Begun in 1977 and hasn't stopped.
- Punny Name: One recurring character is Senator Batson D. Belfry.
- Take That: As MacNelly was generally politically conservative, his portrayal of Senator Belfry is a barely disguised stand-in for Ted Kennedy (identical hairstyle, hints at womanizing, heavy drinking)