After a long and wonderful ride, “Cathy”, the long running (34 years!) comic strip about a neurotic single gal, came to an end this past weekend. But while “Cathy” creator Cathy Guisewite may have put down her pen, there are several long running comic strips remaining that show no end in sight.
Blondie (1930–) Created by Chic Young back in 1930 and distributed by King Features Syndicate, this beloved comic strip is about a pretty blonde and her bumbling family. Blondie was so successful it spawned off into more than two dozen live action films. When cartoonist Chic Young died in 1973 his son took over the Blondie strip, so it’s still all in the family to this day!
Dennis the Menace (1951–) This comic strip by Hank Ketchum debuted in 1951 and like Blondie, its popularity spawned it off into live action media, including movies and a 1959 television series starring child actor Jay North. The comic strip was about a well-meaning but mischievous little boy who especially liked to hang out with his self appointed “best friend”, his long suffering next door neighbor, Mr. Wilson. When Ketchum retired in 1994 (he died in 2001), Dennis the Menace was continued by his assistants, who still continue to crack out this classic comic strip.
Beetle Bailey (1950-). This Mort Walker-created comic strip started in 1950. It’s set in an army military base, Camp Swampy, and stars the inept Beetle Bailey and his cohorts Sarge, General Halftrack, Otto and Private Killer Diller. What make Beetle Bailey unique among most of the longest running comic strips is that to this day it is still penned by original creator Mort Walker and his assistants.
In 2010, the US Postal Service honored 5 long-running comic strips in a “Sunday Funnies Comic Strips” postage stamp issue. Dennis the Menace and Beetle Bailey are both featured, as are legendary comic strips Garfield, Archie and Calvin and Hobbes. You can see the USPS “Sunday Funnies” postage stamps here.