Monday, June 14, 2010

Post 1262 - The Last Annie

You are looking at the very last installment of the Little Orphan Annie comic strip.  It's been just called "Annie" in recent years.  It is just a few months short of its 86th birthday.  Here's the link to a very nice wikipedia article about Annie.  Go ahead and read it.  I don't mind.

Remember: You can click on the image to make it more visible.

I don't
know what to say in this paragraph.  The writer and the artist of the strip are now unemployed, or at least have to replace the work lost by the cancellation of the strip with something else.  I never read it to any extent, not so much because I didn't want to, but because I didn't have the method, means, or opportunity to read it when I might have been in a mood or a mode to do so, and thus never developed the habit of reading it.  But it was very popular in its day, read by millions seven days a week.  In the last going off, the strip was run in fewer than 20 newspapers.

I don't know much about comic strip syndication, but I know it's not as lucrative as you might think it is.  Syndication of a comic strip means that the syndicating company, in this case Tribune Media Services,  sells the rights to publication of a strip to a newspaper, and the paper in return pays a fee.  The syndicate in turn pays the writer and artist (who in turn will pay the inkers and ghosts and so on) based upon the revenue the strip generates.  If a strip runs in 2000 newspapers, then this can be a lot of money.  If it runs in 18 or 19 or 20 newspapers, then it is not that much at all.  Apparently, Annie finally started losing money in the last few months.  It is not hard to see why.

I can understand that nothing lasts forever.  If you are holding on to a cassette-based stereo system in the hope that it will become retro and popular, then you are deluding yourself.  So, if Annie was losing money, then changes have to be made, up to and including the cancellation of the strip.  I accept that.


However, take a moment and read the strip, please.

Notice something?  It ends on a cliffhanger.  We do not know the final outcome of this final Annie story.  There is  just a glib "Seeya later" from the creators.  

This is terribly disrespectful to the people who still read Annie, day in and day out.  Even though it was only running in 20 newspapers, that would still work out to many thousands of readers who read Annie every day.  They deserve closure.  They deserve to see the story's finish.

I find it hard to believe that Tribune Media Services was so hard up for cash that it could not afford to keep the writer and artist employed for another month or so, allowing them to finish this one last story.  That they haven't, is disappointing, if not unacceptable. 

I realize that there is nothing you and I can do to convince anyone to do anything they don't want to do.  It is fruitless.  But, this is Bevboy's Blog, and I am Bevboy, and I have the right to comment about anything I want to.  And, this evening, I want to comment on how media companies screw over the consumers of their products.   I hate how tv shows are canceled in the middle of a cliffhanger.  I hate how books and comics get canned in the middle of a storyline.  I hate how we will likely never know what happens with Annie.  After 86 years, her fans deserve better.

More in a bit.


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