The sun won’t come out tomorrow for Annie

Tribune Media is ending Little Orphan Annie’s newspaper run after 85 years.

From Phil Rosenthal’s business column in the Chicago Tribune:

In the changing media landscape, however, Little Orphan Annie has run into adversity not even she could overcome. The sun will come out tomorrow, but the tomorrow after June 13 will be the first in generations to dawn without “Annie” appearing in a daily newspaper.

The final Sunday panel of the strip, once seen in hundreds of papers but now run by fewer than 20, will end with Daddy Warbucks uncertain over what happened to Annie in her latest run-in with the Butcher of the Balkans. And, leaping lizards, what about her dog, Sandy? Arf.

The cliffhanger is actually a show of faith that there’s still life in the old gal. At least that’s the view of Tribune Media Services, a division of Chicago Tribune parent Tribune Co., which launched the strip during the Calvin Coolidge administration and profited mightily as it parlayed pop-icon status into an oft-performed hit musical, a hugely popular 1930s and ’40s radio series, movies and merchandise.

“Annie is definitely not dying,” said Steve Tippie, TMS’ vice president of licensing. She “will definitely have a life beyond this newspaper incarnation. ?The daily newspaper strip will go away. Now, 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.”

24 thoughts on “The sun won’t come out tomorrow for Annie

  1. The 1980’s movie is one of my daughter’s favourites. Nothing cuter than a 2-year-old singing, “Dumb Dog!” … I’ve been printing copies of the daily strip for her that I’ve grabbed from Comics Kingdom for her to colour.

  2. Kinda ironic that the guys on the last Webcomics Weekly were discussing why Annie even still exists.

  3. Sorry Annie is coming to an end in the comics in June. What could be next in the Tribune Media Services comic world? The end of Gasoline Alley? The end of Dick Tracy? The end of Brenda Starr?

  4. If Annie continued on line, I would follow it. But I would want new stories by the current team. I follow Latigo and Steve Canyon classic strips daily at Dan Thompson’s site, but the Harold Gray stuff is too dated and the strips that ran after Gray and before Maeder/Slampyak were, to put it politely, doodoo.

  5. When I left home to go to college in 1983, my dad asked what I might want in the way of care packages. “Cut out Annie and mail them once a week until this storyline ends,” was my deepest desire. Because, you know, the cliffhangers …

    So he did. And since he had the scissors out and the envelope ready, he got in a habit of sending all sorts of other stories, and kept going through many many storylines until he died in 1992. By which time I was so hooked on reading newspaper stories that I wound up getting a job as a newspaper editor.

    I’ll miss Annie. A lot.

    But I’m glad I’ll still have PvP, at least for a while longer.

  6. Wow, I’m surprised that Annie was still in papers; or even being produced.

    I’m not surprised that Scott has posted another stupid comment.

    It’s getting old, dude. While you’re online all day, why don’t you google “the golden rule” and see what it means. Read it slowly. Read it a few times if you need to.

  7. I have to admit that I liked the musical as a kid. A lot of that had to do with Carol Burnett. I normally hate musicals.

    Her hollow eyes always creeped me out, but not on Barney Rubble or Calvin. I’m not sure why.

    The true tragedy is that everyone writing about this just can’t resist the headline “The Sun Won’t Come Out Tomorrow”.

  8. Sorry to see this. Ted Slampyak was one of the first to warmly welcome me into the brotherhood/sisterhood of cartoonists. He’s a very nice and talented guy, and I thought he and Maeder had done a terrific, witty job of reinvigorating “Annie.”

    Also a sad reflection on the state of the once-great adventure strips whose likes we will never see again (not even online, I fear; that kind of skill and professionalism may be gone forever, or at least redirected to more appreciative and profitable outlets than comics).

  9. Headline writers: Regarding the death of “Annie,” how about something with “No More Leapin’ Lizards?” “Tribune Media Orphans “Annie.” Her hollow eyes creeped me out, too.

  10. I know the Chicago Tribune stopped carrying Annie in March 1992. Lucky the New York Daily News is one of the last 20 papers still carrying Annie in the comics pages.

  11. The comment “It?s just too rich a vein (not) to mine.? is pretty telling about how TMS feels about the strip… and probably explains why it’s down to 20 papers.

  12. If those twenty newspapers were a little more on the ball about studying the demogrphics of their readers, Annie dearest would have died long ago. I’m glad I am not that artist or writer who worked so hard for the pittance they must have earned for royalties from twenty newspapers–evben if they were big ones (doubt that, too).

  13. Actually, I’d say the opposite, Mark. I was at a paper that canceled “Sally Forth” and it was the right decision. About a year later, Ces took it over and, if we’d still had it, canceling would have been the wrong decision.

    The papers to criticize over the death of “Annie” are any that canceled it since the current team picked it up.

    In theory, I’m against zombie comics. In practice, I’m more against those who make decisions about comics but don’t keep up with them.

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