December 10th, 2010
10:09 AM ET
The news business is suffering a loss: “Brenda Starr, Reporter” will meet her final deadline right after the New Year, according to Tribune Media Services. “Starr” writer (and Chicago Tribune columnist) Mary Schmich and artist June Brigman have decided to part ways with the seven-day-a-week comic.
Instead of finding replacements, the strip’s owner, Tribune Media Services, will draw Starr’s story to a close with a final run in newspapers on Sunday, January 2, 2011.
But Starr hung in there for 70 years, having got her start in a Chicago Tribune comic book insert on June 30, 1940. (The curvaceous character was originally created by New York greeting-card artist Dale Messick.)
According to the statement, the comic strip was a standout not only for featuring a career-focused woman in a heavily male comic world, but also because the writing and artistic team behind Brenda Starr was populated by women throughout seven decades, right on up to Schmich and Brigman.
"When I inherited Brenda, she was much weepier, much girlier," Schmich told the Chicago Tribune. "I shifted her away from that, but I can't shift her away entirely...There's a little bit of ditziness in Brenda that's always been there, and however tough-minded I might make her, she's always going to be a little ditzy.”
As to why Schmich decided it was time to move on from Brenda's comical world, the writer told the Tribune that her mother’s recent passing made her “more aware of time.”
"I've done this for 25 years and a comic strip like this is a very funny form to write in,” she told the Tribune. “It's very difficult to advance the character, to advance the story. My life has advanced so much in 25 years. It just felt weird to me to continue to write a story and a character that could not."
Take heart, Starr fans: Tribune Media Services plans to publish a series of books featuring our favorite reporter with Hermes Press. The first volume of the books - which will be landscape, hardcover collections of the comic strips - will be published in June, 2011 and will be distributed worldwide.
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