Silly Sally Sirian, also known as Silly Sally or Sally Sirian, is a long-running comic strip series that first debuted as part of the The Akandan Times ' weekly comics section in 3405. Originally created by a Verandi immigrant to Izera with the intention of ridiculing various policies of the then-Chairwoman of the Sirian Union, it became famous for its clever wordplay and puns, eventually coming to cater mainly to young children, teaching general moral lessons at the end of each strip, usually as part of the punchline and/or in the form of a pun or a simple play on words.
The concept is loosely based off of the Sally No-Yacht jokes. Each strip was episodic, with characters rarely referring to any events of a previous strip, except as part of an occasional multi-week story arc. As the strip gained popularity it gradually lost its political aspect in favour of appealing to a wider audience. The criticism of various S.U. governments never truly disappeared, however, until Silly Sally's creator died. Until then, it had simply grown more subtle, often occurring in the strip's background or manifesting as double entendres in the wordplay.
Herandez Katana immigrated to Izera in 3400, searching for a fresh start of sorts after divorcing his wife of 10 years. He was unable to find steady work, however, and soon found himself living off welfare. Having always been quite critical of the Sirian government of the time, Katana had taken to doodling satirical drawings of Sirians a few years earlier, largely for his own amusement. Tired of his bare-bones existence, he sent samples of his doodles out to several minor, local magazines and newspapers. His applications were mostly rejected, but The Szera City Gazette 's editor-in-chief saw promise in Katana's writing and thought his somewhat controversial opinions on the S.U. government might be a good way to bolster the paper's lackluster sales. Katana was hired on for a trial period, and named his comic strip "Sally Sirian." The Szera City Gazette went out of business in 3405, but the editor-in-chief moved on to the then up-and-coming paper The Akandan Times. He liked Katana's comics and recommended he be hired by the Times. The paper began publishing his comics as part of their weekly comics section that same year.
As the Times grew in popularity, its investors and its new editor-in-chief were worried that Katana's political attitudes might harm the paper's appeal, and so they pressured him to tone down and eventually get rid of the comic's political aspect. Not wanting to loose his job, he grudgingly agreed, though he reportedly thought of it as a betrayal of his concept. The strip was renamed "Silly Sally Sirian" as it refocused on puns and wordplay, though Katana still put subtle political jokes in. Around this time, Katana remarried, and eventually had two sons and a daughter.
The "Silly Sally" comic strip continued on for many years, becoming a beloved cultural icon in Izera as it appeared in every single weekly comics section of the Times for the next 40 years. In August of 3445, however, the Times stopped the strip and had to announce that its creator, illustrator and sole writer, Herandez Katana, had died of natural causes. Reportedly, he collapsed after penning one final strip of "Silly Sally." In his will, be left the rights to the character and the strip to his eldest son, who would go on to refuse to license "Silly Sally" to anyone for several years. In 3455, however, he struck a deal with a publishing company to allow them to create an anthology of sorts containing all of the late Herandez Katana's "Sally Sirian"-related works. These were an enormous commercial success, as were later editions of the books that contained copies of the late Katana's original doodles, notes and excerpts from his personal journal.
In 3500, the Katana family fully sold the rights to "Silly Sally" to a childrens' literature company, allowing them to publish small "Silly Sally" works aimed at children. As of 3555, these books are still created and published, and aside from occasional special anniversary events in the the Times, they are the only form in which "Silly Sally" comics still exist.
Generally, each weekly comic created by Katana was only 6 to 9 panels long, and almost always ended with a pun. Even in its original, political form the "Sally Sirian" comics have never been described as mean-spirited or insensitive, and most readers generally tend to agree that they are humorous or at least clever.
- The eponymous Sally Sirian is a good-natured Sirian woman serving in the Sirian Navy (note: not the space fleet) who is constantly embarrassing herself or her fellow soldiers due to her naivete, incompetence, stubbornness or simply bad luck. At the end of each strip, she is either making a pun or having one told to her, much to her chagrin.
- Sargent Sirian is Sally's C.O. and is almost constantly scolding her for her embarrassing incidents. She never appreciates Sally's puns, but is eager to tell her own puns to Sally.
- Andy Verandi is a character introduced as the strip moved away from satire and focused on humour. The character is a laid-back Verandi man who is a friend of Sally's. They hang out together when she's off-duty or being irresponsible, and frequently serves as a convenient means of generating clever wordplay or puns for Sally.
- Serra Izera is another character introduced as the strip refocused, coming in near the end of Katana's life. A very bookish Theran woman, she is another friend of Sally's. She usually ends up telling Sally off for neglecting her duties, often in the form of a pun.
- Morb the Norb was introduced after the rights to "Silly Sally" were sold in 3500. He is a Norb frame implanted into a koala bear and another friend of Sally's. The others often make jokes at his expense, though he rarely seems to understand them. His puns are uniquely computer-based and often stem from brief, educational chats that take place on preceding pages.
For the vast majority of Herandez's run, the conservative Union Party (Siarran Lann in Eqiti) was the party in power. However, due to the subtlety with which he made his satire, Sirians from both sides of the political spectrum pounced upon it as supporting their viewpoints. To this day pundits use Sally Sirian to accentuate their commentary of the political landscape and add levity. Several newspapers in the SU still run the older strips, typically picking out ones that are seen as pertinent to current events.