Robot 6

It’s the hard-knock life for Little Orphan Annie as syndicate cancels strip

Annie and her pal Sandy

Annie and her pal Sandy

After more than 85 years, the sun will no longer come out for Little Orphan Annie, Harold Gray’s Depression Era comic about a red-haired waif and the kindly capitalist who gives her a home.

Although the strip, which debuted on Aug. 5, 1924 in the New York Daily News, once appeared in hundreds of newspapers, it now runs in fewer than 20. So Tribune Media Services has decided to cancel Annie with the June 13 installment — a cliffhanger, curiously enough.

The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rosenthal reports that Sunday strip will end with Daddy Warbucks uncertain of Annie’s fate after her latest run-in with the Butcher of the Balkans.

Annie is definitely not dying,” Steve Tippie, TMS’ vice president of licensing, tells Rosenthal. He says that while “the daily newspaper strip will go away [...] that doesn’t mean that Annie won’t come back … whether it’s (in) comic books, graphic novels, in print, electronic. It’s just too rich a vein (not) to mine.”

Indeed, Little Orphan Annie inspired a long-running radio show, three motion pictures, a television movie, and a musical — the basis for one of those films — that ran for six years on Broadway and has since been staged countless times around the world.

IDW Publishing has released four volumes of The Complete Little Orphan Annie collection through its Library of American Comics imprint.

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Comments

6 Comments

My dog once played Sandy in a high school production of Little Orphan Annie.

When you consider how anachronistic Little Orphan Annie is, it’s a wonder how its lasted so long.

I haven’t thought much about LOA in years, but it’s one of those things I thought would always be there.
Anachronistic tho it may be, letting an 85 year old institution fall so far is a shame, if daily strips weren’t so anemic (resistant to change) this wouldn’t happen.
Periodic updates the the mies en scene and tropes and it could still be made vital and interesting (ala the last 5 years of Archie).
She’s still a hellofa iconic marketable image.

The sun will come out… tomorrow… bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow… they’ll be sun….

I never knew much about the character beyond what relatives of my parents’ generation told me until several months ago when I read a book of reprints from the depression era, and I was shocked how utterly unsympathetic the strip was towards the unemployed of the time. It was very much what my relatives, whose childhoods were in that era, had described.

Another interesting aspect is how the strip, since there was no expectation of collection, would often recap the last few days in expositional form on a daily basis!

Websnark.com used to talk about Annie, most heavily around 2004. I’m not saying Annie is a great newspaper strip in the Jay Maeder era, just that it’s more insane than most cultural institutions.

The strip featured a cross-dressing Satanist around 2004, for one thing. I’m not making this up.

The market has spoken. We all know that the adorable little orphan would sooner die than be subsidized.

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