The world was at war in 1940. And when women across the United States answered the call to pick up slack in the nation’s work force, they became the family breadwinners, the daily newspaper buyers—and the comic strip readers.
Enter Brenda Starr, Reporter, the format’s first career girl created, written and illustrated by a woman—Dale Messick. Four years before Wonder Woman burst onto the scene, Brenda Starr was America’s top female crime fighter. The fearless, feisty redheaded journalist became an immediate symbol of feminism and upwardly mobile aspirations for generations of readers.
Brenda Starr enjoyed a phenomenal seven-decade run, appearing until 2011, making her one of the most successful syndicated comic strip characters in the history of the art form. At its peak, the title was carried by more than 250 newspapers and followed by 60 million readers.