First and Last – Brenda Starr

In June 1940, the same month Will Eisner’s The Spirit debuted his Comic Book Section, Dale Messick‘s Brenda Starr first appeared in the Chicago Tribune Comic Book Magazine, a newspaper insert that had shown up three months earlier.


Brenda Starr – Reporter began as a two-part Sunday only strip in the comic book on June 30, 1940.

It is said that Brenda Starr was named after the celebutante Brenda Frasier.

I find it hard to believe that the scheme and setting of the comic strip was not inspired by
Rosalind Russell and her His Girl Friday movie that had appeared six months earlier.


The Brenda Starr comic strip quickly became a favorite among the Comic Book Magazine features, and a year after its introduction Dale Messick and her creation “graduated” to the regular Chicago Tribune Sunday comics section.

That was followed, on October 22, 1945, by a daily strip.


Dale Messick continued the strip for 40 years as the artist and 42 years as writer.



Ramona Fradon took on the art chores in 1980 and Linda Sutter became the writer in 1982.


By the time the strip ended in 2011 Mary Schmich and June Brigman were the creative team.

Below is the last daily dated January 1, 2011 and the last Sunday dated January 2, 2011.

Note that the first strip starts with “Beginning” while the last word of the final strip is “End.”


Later in 2011 Brenda Starr cast member Hank O’Hair would make a cameo in the Dick Tracy strip.




Allan Holtz’s Stripper’s Guide blog for Chicago Tribune Comic Book Magazine

Comic Art Fans has a few dozen Brenda Starr images

Tribune Content Agency has the last few Brenda Starr strips

While the I Love Comics archives has selected Dale Messick Brenda Starr comic strips