Brenda Starr faces her final deadline

Brenda Starr, the comic-strip reporter who has headlined her own comic strip for more than 70 years will run its final comic on January 2.


JEREMY HOBSON: After 70 years of getting into and out of trouble, comic strip character and ace reporter "Brenda Starr" is preparing to leave the comics page for good. Brenda files her final story next Sunday.

From Chicago Public Radio, Tony Arnold reports on what her departure means for the business of newspaper comic strips.

TONY ARNOLD: When she was created in 1940, Brenda Starr was ground-breaking. She was female, sassy, and had a love life.

MARY SCHMICH: In Brenda's hay day, she was everywhere. She was huge. She was Lady Gaga.

Mary Schmich took over writing the Brenda Starr strip in 1985. But she says Starr and similar strips have now had their day.

SCHMICH: I think it is really difficult in a modern newspaper to sustain a storyline strip, a soap opera strip where you have to follow it every day.

Lucy Shelton Caswell is the currator of a cartoon museum affiliated with Ohio State University. She says newspaper editors should be using their comics pages to entice young readers.

LUCY SHELTON CASWELL: If you only have comic strips that are x-years-old, that don't appeal to young readers, then you shouldn't be surprised that they don't buy your paper or read you online.

And the editors have to find those future buyers, or their papers may go the way of Brenda Starr.

In Chicago, I'm Tony Arnold for Marketplace.

Click here to see an archive of the last ten years of Brenda Starr comics.


I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...

Sustainability Coverage

  • The Kendeda Fund
  • Wealth & Poverty Coverage

  • The Ford Foundation