Newspaper comic features that are still appearing in newly produced and printed episodes after 100 year can be counted on one hand – Gasoline Alley, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Thimble Theater starring Popeye, Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, and now Rupert Bear.*
On November 8, 1920 Rupert appeared, for the first time, in the pages of London’s The Daily Express. That newspaper, celebrating the centennial anniversary, tells how it came about:
Rupert was invented because rival newspapers the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror had children’s animal cartoons – Teddy Tail, a mouse, in the former and Pip, Squeak and Wilfred, a dog, a penguin and a rabbit, in the latter.
Express proprietor Lord Beaverbrook instructed Herbert Tourtel to come up with a circulation-boosting solution. And that solution was Rupert, a cartoon strip drawn by his own wife, children’s illustrator Mary Tourtel.
A century on, Rupert is now the world’s longest-running cartoon bear, older than Winnie-the-Pooh by six years and Paddington by 38 years. He is also one of Britain’s most beloved fictional characters. The Rupert Annual has sold millions of copies and generations of children have enjoyed his adventures.
The single panel Rupert has long since given way to a set of four panels with text below.
I am unable to find if Rupert still runs as a daily comic in the Daily Express or if his print runs these days is relegated to the Annuals. There seems to be no end date of the newspaper run, yet all modern day print references only discuss the annuals.
More information at
* next up for a centennial (as far as I know) is Ginger Meggs, a year from now.