Friday, April 08, 2005

I read in the paper today that Dale Messick, the creator of the comic strip "Brenda Starr," died at age 98.

I read the comic strips in whatever newspaper I have (most of the time either the Albany Times Union or the Kingston Daily Freeman, or less often, the Troy Record or East Greenbush Independent). Brenda Starr doesn't run in any of those papers, and I understand that others took over writing the strips some years ago. When I was a teenager, it was in the paper I read, and at that time Dale Messick was drawing it. I can't say I was a big fan of the comic, I read them all, but I have my favorites and less than favorites ("For Better of for Worse" has been my favorite for a while, and more recently, I like "Get Fuzzy" a lot too).

In those days I preferred "Blondie," "Peanuts" and "Lil' Abner" to Brenda Starr, but Brenda finally took the plunge in 1976, and after over 30 years at age 23, it seemed like a momentous occasion. My mother often saved newspapers that had historic significance, I remember her keeping copies that had the headlines "Nixon Quits" and a "Ford in Our Future." I kept a scrapbook, and so I cut out the news coverage of Brenda's wedding in the New York Daily News.

This morning I dug out the clippings, from 1976:

On and off, I write a newspaper for the fictitious town of Nileston (I resurrected it for a while as the newsletter for GBP). When I was a teenager, I was especially prolific, and the paper included many illustrations and spoofs. While I was retrieving my scrapbook I also pulled out the folder with my old efforts, and was delighted to discover my 1977 send-up of Brenda Starr:

Here is an interesting link that details Dale Messick's life as an illustrator, as well as her struggle to be accepted in the male world of comics.

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