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What Are the Longest Running Comic Strips?
The first three of a 12-frame 1924 Katzenjammer Kids cartoon.
Credit: Wikipedia

The news that Little Orphan Annie is losing her long-running newspaper comic strip may be seen as the latest nail in the coffin of a dying art form. But some strips that have run for even longer than Annie are still around today.

Tribune Media Services, which syndicates Annie, announced on Thursday that its final installment with a cliffhanger ending -- would run in the Sunday papers on June 13. The strip debuted in 1924 as Little Orphan Annie and at the height of its popularity ran in hundreds of newspapers. Today, fewer than 20 papers run Annie.

Despite the fact that Annie ran for more than 80 years, it's not the longest running comic strip. Here are the longest running comic strips of all time:

1. The Katzenjammer Kids (1897-present)

Created by Rudolph Dirks, this is the longest-running syndicated comic strip by far. It first ran on Dec 12, 1897, in the Sunday supplemental for The New York Journal. Centered on the adventures of the rebellious twin brothers Hans and Fritz, it proved so popular it sparked an early 20th century bidding war between newspaper barons William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. Pulitzer and Dirks kept Hans and Fritz for The New York World, while Hearst kept the strip's title. Today, The Katzenjammer Kids still runs in nearly 50 newspapers.

2. Gasoline Alley (1918-present)

This was the first daily strip to show its characters aging. Today, the main character, Walt Wallet is 110 years old. Creator Frank King drew the strip for 41 years, until 1959. Still a presence in many newspapers, Gasoline Alley has won numerous National Cartoonists Society awards and several reprint collections have been published.

3.Bringing Up Father (1913-2000)

The noveau-riche Irish couple Jiggs and Maggie were the focal point of this comic panel tale, which was created by George McManus. The strip was syndicated internationally and, for some reason, the adventures of this lovable Irish couple especially resonated with the people of Norway. Reprints of the strip continue to be published in a Norwegian journal, along with a yearly Christmas book.

4. Little Orphan Annie (1924-1974; 1979-2010, as Annie)

Most news reports of Annie's cancellation say she's been in newspapers for 85 years, but that's not quite accurate. The strip had a five-year hiatus in the mid-1970s during which only reprints were run. So the Annie newspaper strip actually has had 81 years of new adventures, still an impressive run. The strip made its debut on Aug. 5, 1924, in The New York Daily News.

5. Popeye (1929-present)

Elzie Crisler Segar's most famous creation made his debut on Jan. 17, 1929, in the strip Thimble Theatre. Almost overnight, Popeye became a sensation. The stocky sailor with a taste for spinach quickly became the star of the strip, which would eventually take his name. One of the first multimedia stars, Popeye starred in cartoons, including the legendary Fleischer Studios cartoons, and in radio programs during the '30s, and then later in movies. The last new daily Popeye strip ran on July 30, 1994. The strip continues to run on Sundays.