Comics Trivia – but they got it wrong

So earlier today Mike Peterson brought up trivia contests. Mike said:

I gave up on trivia contests after losing a squeaker because I said Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater lake within a single nation’s boundaries. They wanted Lake Superior, which has a greater surface area but contains less water and is sure not within a single nation’s boundaries.

Mike added: “I’m too old to argue with the sort of knowitalls who run those contests.”

I’m not, especially when it comes to comics trivia.

Serendipitously Classic City News dropped an item this morning titled

The 12 Longest-Running Sunday Comic Strips

The introduction to the article hedges the title by stating, “we’ve rounded up some [emphasis added] of the longest-running comic strips.”

But even so there are at least a dozen strips that ran longer on Sundays than their last few. Their list ends with B.C. whose first Sunday page was October 19, 1958 – so 65 years and 5 months is the benchmark. The list:

The Katzenjammer Kids (1897-2006)

Gasoline Alley (1918-present)

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith (1919-present)

Little Orphan Annie (1924-2010)

Popeye (1929-1994)

Blondie (1930-present)

Dick Tracy (1931-present)

Prince Valiant (1937-present)

Brenda Starr, Reporter (1940-2011)

Beetle Bailey (1950-present)

Dennis the Menace (1951-present)

B.C. (1958-present)

First we’ll discuss the errors in the listing’s headers above.

Sunday strips didn’t always start the same time or the same year as the daily strip did. Barney Google Sundays began in 1920, Beetle Bailey’s first Sunday was in 1952 as were the first Dennis Sunday pages. Popeye didn’t show up in the Thimble Theatre Sunday pages until 1930, though Thimble Theatre Sunday pages began in 1925.

above: the first Sunday Believe It or Not October 20, 1929 © Ripley Entertainment

Cutting them some slack…

I’ll forgive them for not including (Ripley’s) Believe It or Not, first Sunday in 1929, as it is not a “strip.” And for leaving Ginger Meggs off (it began as a Sunday in 1921) as it is not of U.S. origin.

Here is a list of some Sunday pages that lasted longer than the 65 and half years B.C. has racked up to date. These are dated by their Sunday appearances and, like the list above, sorted by first date of publication, not years.

Bringing Up Father 1918 – 2000

Henry 1935 – 2005

Mandrake the Magician 1935 – 2002

Big Chief Wahoo/Steve Roper 1937 – 2004

above: the last Mandrake the Magician Sunday from December 29, 2002 © King Features Syndicate

Two-thirds of Classic City News’ list are made up of currently running strips. Let’s check out other currently syndicated strips whose Sunday premiers happened before CCN’s last three:

Alley Oop 1934

Apple Mary 1935 (or Mary Worth’s Family 1939)

Nancy 1938

The Phantom 1939

Rex Morgan, M.D. 1948

Mark Trail 1948

And beating B.C.’s 65 ½ years are

Judge Parker 1952

Hi and Lois 1956


Flash Gordon 1934 – 2003, 2023 – present

Whew. I’m sure there are more that I have overlooked.

And then there’s CBR latest list involving comic strips: 10 Golden Age Comic Strips That Never Died.

It starts with Dennis the Menace which I will argue is definitely NOT Golden Age (WWII or earlier by my reckoning) and includes Doc Savage who never made it to the daily newspaper comics page. The list includes a few King Features properties which are due to King Features aggressive marketing division more than their comic strip popularity (Mandrake the Magician is there but not Betty Boop?). The Shadow was a comic strip for a few years back in the day, but that minor part of The Shadow’s history has nothing to do with the character’s continuing acceptance.

hat tip to Allan Holtz for a lot of the dates

5 thoughts on “Comics Trivia – but they got it wrong

  1. Okay. These are from Wikipedia, so don’t blame me for erroneous dates, and they do not delineate when Sunday pages began. But here are strips that lasted longer than 65 years (and I don’t know which have gone reprint over their tenure):
    ANDY CAPP (1957-present)
    THE CAPTAIN AND THE KIDS (circa 1914-2006)
    FERD’NAND (1937-2012)
    GRIN AND BEAR IT (1932-2015)
    MARMADUKE (1954-present)
    MICKEY MOUSE (1930-1996)
    MOON MULLINS (1923-1991)
    MUTT AND JEFF (1907-1982)
    THEY’LL DO IT EVERY TIME (1929-2008)
    TIM TYLER’S LUCK (1928-1996)
    WINNIE WINKLE (1920-1996)

    I know the Sunday TARZAN (1929-2002) went reprint in the mid-’70s but then it came back with new material, though I’m not sure when.

    There may be others. Being Wikipedia, the dates are highly suspect, even when they’re correct.

    1. Mike, with the help of Allan Holtz’s book here’s what I found:

      First we’ll toss aside the Sundays that didn’t outlast B.C.’s 65 years and five months criteria:
      Andy Capp Sundays began in 1965
      Captain and The Kids Sundays June 1914 – April 1979 (I had checked this one, missed it by thaaaat much)
      Ferd’nand Sundays 1948 – 2006
      Marmaduke Sundays began in 1971 (I had actually checked this one too)
      Mickey Mouse Sundays 1932 – 1992 or so (even if it went to 1996 still not enough to make the list)
      They’ll Do It Every Time Sundays ran 1949 to 2008
      Tim Tyler’s Luck Sundays ran from 1931 to 1972

      New Archie Sundays ran from October 1946 to May 2011, so made it until May 2024 rolls around.

      Grin and Bear surprised me because it started as a Sunday page on July 1, 1934 (though Holtz takes Ron Goulart’s word that it started in March 1932, but I find nothing to back that up). It ran until 2015. But because I was cutting the original list maker some slack this panel feature doesn’t make the strip list.

      But these make the list –
      Moon Mullins 1923 – 1991 (68 years)
      Winnie Winkle 1922 – 1996 (74 years)
      Mutt and Jeff 1910 – 1983 (73 years)

      I grew up with NEA comics pages, I can’t remember ever getting a paper with Tribune strips other than Dick Tracy, so I forgive myself for not thinking of Moon and Winnie. But…
      I can’t believe I didn’t think of Mutt and Jeff! The strip began in 1907 as a seven days a week strip.
      But the Sundays then were in daily format, an actual “Sunday page” began in 1910.

      Tarzan is another one. The reruns went for five months ( ) between Goodwin/Kane and Grell in 1981. The Sunday pages ran from 1931 – 2002. That’s 71 years.

  2. And what about Gil Thorp, started by creator Jack Berrill on Sept. 8, 1958? A privilege to work with Jack until his death in 1996. He wrote the strip for 38 years and drew it for most of that time. Jack lived near New Milford, CT, a model for Milford in the strip. As editor of international syndication 1994-99, I chose and worked with successor, best-selling author Jerry Jenkins who sometimes collaborated with his son. Since leaving the strip, Jerry has continued writing nearly 200 books, including young adult and Christian titles.

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