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Suzanne Scoggins, Director of Women's History

The other day I noted the lack of females in the new Sunday Funnies stamps from the Post Office.

One of our volunteers, Nancy Foye-Cox, was inspired to compile a list of comic strips either featuring females or created by females—just to show what the Post Office is missing. I’ve plugged in her data below.

It’s not like these are obscure comic strips running in alternative feminist weeklies. Blondie, for example, is the most widely distributed comic of all time (yes, really—ahead of Peanuts, Garfield, and all the others). Cathy Guisewite (Cathy) and Lynn Johnston (For Better or For Worse) are both Reuben winners. The iconic Little Orphan Annie became a Broadway show and a movie. Luann is a contemporary favorite.

COMIC STRIPS NAMED FOR FEMALE CHARACTERS

Blondie

  • APPLE MARY by Martha Orr (1930s) (became MARY WORTH)
  • BLONDIE by Chic Young (1930)
  • BRENDA STARR by Dale Messick: first cartoon strip written by a woman (1940). NOTE: After Messick left, strip continued by other female artists.
  • CATHY by Cathy Guisewite
  • DASHING DOT by Marjorie Henderson Buell
  • FRITZI RITZ by Larry Whittington (1922) (became NANCY strip)
  • GAY AND HER GANG by Gladys Parker
  • GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES and BABS IN SOCIETY by Virginia Huget
  • LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE by Harold Gray (1924)
  • LITTLE LULU by Marjorie “Marje” Henderson Buell (1935)
  • LUANN by Greg Evans (1985)
  • MARIANNE by Ethel Hays
  • MARY WORTH by Dale Conner (who left the strip)
  • MAXINE or LAUGHING GAS by Marian Henley
  • MISS FURY by Tarpe Mills (1941)
  • NANCY by Ernie Bushmiller (1938)
  • SUSIE Q. SMITH by Linda and Jerry Walter
  • TEENA by Hilda Terry (1941). NOTE: first female cartoonist to be accepted to the National Cartoonists Society.
  • THE KEWPIES by Rose O’Neill (1909)
  • TORCHY BROWN by Jackie Ormes, first Black female comic strip cartoonist (1937)
  • TOODLES, DIMPLES, DOLLIE DINGLE, and DOTTIE DARLING and the CAMPBELL (SOUP) KIDS by Grace Wiederseim AKA Drayton AKA Gebbie
  • WAY LAY or STORY MINUTE by Carol Lay

Luann

SYNDICATED COMIC STRIPS BY FEMALE CARTOONISTS

Cathy

  • APPLE MARY by Martha Orr (1930s) (became MARY WORTH)
  • BOBBY SOX by Marty Links (1944)
  • BRENDA STARR by Dale Messick: first cartoon strip written by a woman (1940). NOTE: After Messick left, strip continued by other female artists.
  • CAP STUBBS AND TIPPIE by Edwina Dumm (1918)
  • CATHY by Cathy Guisewite
  • DASHING DOT by Marjorie Henderson Buell
  • FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE by Lynn Johnston
  • GAY AND HER GANG by Gladys Parker
  • GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES and BABS IN SOCIETY by Virginia Huget
  • LITTLE LULU by Marjorie “Marje” Henderson Buell (1935)
  • MARIANNE by Ethel Hays
  • MARY WORTH by Dale Conner (who left the strip)
  • MAXINE or LAUGHING GAS by Marian Henley
  • MISS FURY by Tarpe Mills (1941)
  • SUSIE Q. SMITH by Linda and Jerry Walter
  • TEENA by Hilda Terry (1941). NOTE: first female cartoonist to be accepted to the National Cartoonists Society.
  • THE KEWPIES by Rose O’Neill (1909)
  • TORCHY BROWN by Jackie Ormes, first Black female comic strip cartoonist (1937)
  • TOODLES, DIMPLES, DOLLIE DINGLE, and DOTTIE DARLING and the CAMPBELL (SOUP) KIDS by Grace Wiederseim AKA Drayton AKA Gebbie
  • WAY LAY or STORY MINUTE by Carol Lay

For Better or For Worse

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6 Responses
  1. Linda says:

    Glad to see you included America’s first woman cartoonist, Rose O’Neill. It has been amazing how many books on the history of cartoonist have left her out. By the way her first cartoon was in 1896, the 1909 was the beginning of the Kewpie cartoons that ran for almost forty years. She did many other cartoons that appears in Puck and other magazines of the day. The Kewpie cartoons were for young children even though adults loved them too. Her earlier cartoons were for adults. She is known for her Kewpie Dolls but she had a remarkable career in illustration which made her the highest paid illustrator in New York City shortly after her Kewpie cartoons began. You can see examples of the two phases of her cartoons on my web site listed above.

  2. EVE says:

    Linda, thank you very much for commenting. I just investigated your website and got lost in the world of Kewpies and Rose O’Neill!

  3. Nancy Foye-Cox says:

    Linda: Thanks for the additional info on Rose O’Neill. By the way, out of the 31 inductees in the Cartoon Hall of Fame, only one is a woman – Lynn Johnston.

  4. KT2001 says:

    What a great list. Thank you.

  5. Nancy Foye-Cox says:

    It was announced today in Dayton OH that Cathy Guisewite is retiring her CATHY comic strip in October 2010 after 30 years…

    When I put the original list together, I couldn’t remember the name of senior citizen MAXINE’s comic strip CRABBY ROAD by John Wagner for HALLMARK. It started in 1986.

  6. David in Ohio says:

    Just a item here that tells all here a little more about Cathy Guisewite:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/From-the-news-wires/2010/0812/Cathy-Guisewite-to-end-Cathy-comic-strip-after-34-years