Friday, December 10, 2010

Brenda Starr...The Rest of The Story!

[*NOTE:* Apologies to Paul Harvey.]

What bummer news: Brenda Starr is ending its 70-year newspaper run on January 2nd.

We don't really talk about newspaper strips that much...or ever...on this blog, but when I was young, reading the funnies in the paper was as big a part of my comics diet as the scattered issues of Batman I'd nab up at 7-Eleven or the Uncle Scrooges that the restaurant up the road kept behind the counter. What I'm saying is I'd read them every chance I got.

The comics section in our hometown paper The Flint Journal was really heavy on the traditional gag cartoons – the Sunday page anchored my entire life by Peanuts, Garfield and Calvin & Hobbes. The rest of the section on any day displaying a lot of funny animals and Crankshaft or whatever. But throughout the paper in odd places, they'd put the more "realistic" strips. Ones with people drawn in stiff poses standing around Miami hotel rooms and the like. The Sports Page usually had Gil Thorp tucked away somewhere. Mark Trail made the odd appearance in the Personals.

And Brenda Starr ran in the Op/Ed. I read that strip because I read all the comics, but it stood out because...well, it wasn't my thing. It was "the girl strip" but held this odd place in my mind as being...more important for some vague vague reason? I remember a plot line where Brenda was in Washington D.C. busting up some crooked politicians. Then some crazy run about a fashion show robbery. That strip kept half a hand on whatever passed for "realness" when I was 11, and I always had a soft spot for it.

So yeah...I was bummed to hear its wrapping up, even though I'm encouraged its because the voluntary retirement of current creators Mary Schmich and June Brigman. Beyond that, I wanted to mark its end here without knowing how.

But hey! Whaddaya know? I logged on to Twitter tonight, and got a little slice of history thrown my way thanks to all-around comics professor and engaging as all get out writer Dan Slott!

Here's what Dan had to say:

My little known comic lineage: My great grandfather's sister was Molly Slott, who broke thru a tough "glass ceiling" in the 40's to run the Chicago Tribune's feature section, where she oversaw popular comic strips of the day. Molly Slott's biggest achievement was championing a comic that the-power-that-be didn't want to produce because it was *gasp* created by a woman. That strip was about a girl outlaw named-

-Brenda Starr. Molly made a suggestion tho, that maybe the lead character should be a reporter instead. ;-) This January will mark the last adventure of BRENDA STARR: REPORTER, a strip started back in June 30, 1940. Not a bad run, right? :-)

And now you know...THE REST OF THE STORY! More here.

Cheers to Dale Messick, Ramona Fradon, Linda Sutter and June Brigman!!!

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