WHERE ARE WE TODAY?
Newspaper strips are over a hundred years old, although the majority of popular features are younger than 20 years.
The comic strip remains a much-read, much-loved part of the daily newspaper.
It has been a struggle sometimes-
The printing size of most strips has been reduced to about one-half of the overall size of strips from the 1930’s and ‘40’s.
Only a few adventure strips remain (Mandrake, The Phantom, Flash Gordon, SpiderMan, Dick Tracy,..), often appearing in a small number of daily papers.
Most cities today have only one major newspaper, limiting the total number of features seen in the local area.
Some of the classic strips have died; most have new producers.
Bringing Up Father (George McManus, 1913) ended in 2000.
Rip Kirby (Alex Raymond, 1946) ended in 1999 after the death of John Prentice.
Popeye /Thimble Theatre (E.C. Segar, 1919) continues, now drawn by Hy Eisman.
The Katzenjammer Kids (Rudy Dirks, 1897) are now produced by Hy Eisman.
Dick Tracy (Chester Gould, 1931) continues his war on crime, written today by Michael Killian and drawn by Dick Locher.
Brenda Starr (Dale Messick , 1940) is still an ace reporter, drawn today by June Brigman and written by Mary Schmich.
Beetle Bailey (Mort Walker, 1950) continues, still produced by Mort Walker with the assistance of his sons.
Peanuts (Charles Schulz, 1950) appears in reprints since the death of “Sparky” Schulz.
Garfield (Jim Davis, 1978) is going strong, accompanied by a great wave of merchandising.
Dennis the Menace (Hank Ketcham, 1951) continues, now drawn by Ron Ferdinand (Sunday) and Marcus Hamilton (daily) after the death of Hank Ketcham.
Henry (Carl Anderson , 1934) appears in reprints.
Prince Valiant (Hal Foster, 1937 ) still battles on behalf of King Athur, now drawn by John Cullen Murphy.
Mary Worth (Allen Saunders, 1939) is now prepared by Allen’s son John, with art by Joe Giella.
Tarzan (Hal Foster, 1929) has appeared in reprints and in new stories by Battles and Simmons.
Flash Gordon (Alex Raymond, 1934) continues, today produced by Jim Keefe, a fan of Raymond’s work and strip.
The Phantom (Lee Falk and Ray Moore, 1936) is drawn today by Graham Nolan.
Alley Oop (V.T. Hamlin, 1932) –the swinging caveman is handled by Jack and Carole Bender.
Mandrake (Lee Falk, 1934) continues, now drawn by Fred Fredericks.
Rex Morgan (Nick Dallis and Marvin Bradley, 1948) continues to diagnose cases under the direction of Woody Wilson and artist Graham Nolan.
Nancy (Ernie Bushmiller, 1938) is still alive, handled by Guy and Brad Gilchrist in a manner very reminiscent of the early Bushmiller.
The good news is that these strips do continue, that newspaper features editors are very receptive to readership comments and polls, and that creative new strips are continually appearing.