Thursday, May 13, 2010

'Annie' newspaper strip ends after 85 years

Tribune Media Services has announced that Little Orphan Annie ends her newspaper syndication run this summer. Annie, who got her start on the comics pages in 1924, will take a final bow in traditional print form Sunday, June 13, 2010.

Associated Press reports that less than 20 newspapers in the United States currently take the comic strip; Steve Tippie, vice president for TMS Licensing and New Market Development, says the cost of creating the strip started to outweigh its revenue.

Tribune Media Services will seek new audiences for Annie’s adventures through other media, including film, television, comic books, graphic novels, mobile, and eReaders. TMS is also exploring potential new channels for bringing more than 85 years of archived historical content to current audiences.

“Annie is an entertainment icon,” Tippie says. “Our emphasis going forward will be on bringing her more in line with current pop culture and shaping her development as a property that appeals to children and adults on a whole new level. We plan to grow Annie’s popularity by introducing her to new generations of audiences through new media and licensing applications.”

The current creative team, writer Jay Maeder and artist Ted Slampyak, spent the past decade molding the plucky redhead into a contemporary heroine with the values creator Harold Gray instilled in 1924. Maeder and Slampyak also injected the storyline with more action and intrigue than ever before.

"It is no longer a great marketplace for adventure comic strips in the daily newspapers," Maeder told AP. "It's not surprising to me that at some point the strip would come to an end."

The last panel depicts Annie in a tangle with the Butcher from the Balkans, leaving Daddy Warbucks to mourn Annie’s loss. Did she get eaten by sharks? Did she get caught under the Butcher’s blade? Did she fall victim to another notorious criminal’s plan? Or did she ….? Stay tuned for what’s in store next.

More about the history of Annie here.

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