Monday, December 13, 2010

Brenda Starr retires after 70 years

(Chicago, Dec. 9, 2010)--Globetrotting redheaded reporter Brenda Starr is hanging up her reporter's notebook after a 70-year run in newspaper syndication. The writer/artist team of Mary Schmich and June Brigman has chosen to end their work on the seven-day-a-week strip, bringing the Brenda Starr storyline to a close. The strip's final appearance in newspapers will be Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011.

Brenda Starr, who got her trial run in a Chicago Tribune comic book insert on June 30, 1940, went on to capture the imagination of millions of readers every day on newspaper comics pages around the world. Much like her original creator, Dale Messick, a New York greeting-card artist who changed her name from Dalia in the 1940s to get her work noticed, Brenda became one of the first career women in the male-dominated comics world. Brenda, with her keen intuition and high style combined with a fearless but fair and diligent approach to the job, became a symbol for successful professional women worldwide.

Tribune Media Services (TMS), the property's owner, made the decision to end the feature's newspaper syndication when Schmich and Brigman determined they would finish their long stewardship of the feature.

"Mary and June have been instrumental in shaping Brenda's current character and have provided readers with sophisticated, adventurous, witty storylines and brilliant artwork," said Mary Elson, managing editor for TMS. "They have guided Brenda into the 21st century and made her the contemporary icon she is today. We're proud of the way they have cared for her and the strip's cast and storylines over the years while maintaining the values instilled by creator Dale Messick."

The classic soap-opera strip was a pioneer comic that not only featured a strong female lead but an exclusively female writing and artistic team throughout its seven decades: Dale Messick (1940-1980); Dale Messick and Ramona Fradon (1980-1982); Ramona Fradon and Linda Sutter (1982-1985); Ramona Fradon and real-life reporter Mary Schmich (1985-1995); and Mary Schmich and June Brigman (1995-2011).

TMS has partnered with Hermes Press to publish a series of books called "Brenda Starr, Reporter by Dale Messick: The Collected Daily and Sunday Newspaper Strips." The first volume of these landscape hardcover books will be published in June 2011.

Related link:
Farewell, BRENDA STARR: 70-year-old reporter faces her final deadline Jan. 2 (Comic Riffs)

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