Jeff MacNelly, the son of a publisher and portrait painter, created his first strip in 1969, while working as a political cartoonist for a weekly paper in Chapel Hill, NC. A year later, he relocated to The Richmond Newsleader in Virginia, and in 1972, his work was awarded with the first of three Pulitzer Prizes. In 1977, he started drawing the newspaper strip 'Shoe', named after the legendary Jim Shumaker, for whom Jeff used to work at the Chapel Hill Weekly.
The strip featured a gang of wisecracking birds who run a newspaper called The Treetop Tattler. The comic became immensely popular, and was twice awarded by the National Cartoonists Society with the prestigious Reuben Award. In 1982, Jeff MacNelly started working for the Chicago Tribune, where he received his third Pulitzer, and was honored three times as the "best in the business" among political cartoonists, in 1987, '89, and '93.
Unfortunately, the sympathetic master of the strip 'Shoe' died of cancer on 6 August 2000 at the age of 52, but his strip is being continued by his wife, Susie MacNelly, and friend Chris Cassatt.