Monday, February 22, 2021


Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The Three Hundred for 1982 - Rookie Features

This is now the fifth year we have covered and again we have lots of new features debuting;  the highest we have ever had since we started this journey. Our big rookie is The Muppets, which ended the year with 70 papers. As with the previous rookie winners this strip would only last a short time. In this case it would be five years. You can see why newspaper editors would have thought that this strip would bring in all types of readers from the young to the old. The Muppets had a successful TV series and a recent successful movie but could not hold the readers in a gag a day strip format.  

The remaining rookies for 1982 had some success and of course some that would disappear in the blink of the eye. Coming in second was a strip that could still be running today if the cartoonist Doug Marlette did not die in an automobile accident;  that would be Kudzu which debuted in 17 papers. Others that had good starts were Duffy with 12 and Dallas with 11. Willy ‘n Ethel is the only debut that is still running today, though it is now self-syndicated.

 Here are the top rookie strips:

  1. The Muppets (King Features) – 70
  2. Kudzu (Chicago Tribune – New York News Syndicate) – 17
  3. Duffy (Universal Press Syndicate) – 12
  4. Dallas (Los Angeles Times Syndicate) – 11
  5. Le Grand Chef (Chicago Tribune – New York News Syndicate) – 9
  6. Willy ‘N Ethel (Field Enterprise) – 7
  7. Ben Swift (United Feature Syndicate) – 6
  8. Lone Ranger (New York Times Special Features) – 5
  9. Wingtips (Universal Press Syndicate) – 5

 Other new strips that debuted in less than 5 papers – It’s Just a Game, Benji, Eggheads, Father’s Day, Adam’s Apple*, Miles to Go, Sonny Pew and Vidiots.

 Here is how the debuts since 1977 stand as of 1982:

  1. Garfield (United Features Syndicate) (1978) – 90
  2. Shoe (Chicago Tribune – New York News Syndicate) (1977) – 73
  3. The Muppets (King Features) (1981) – 70
  4. Amazing Spider-Man (Register and Tribune Syndicate) (1977) – 51
  5. For Better or For Worse (Universal Press Syndicate) (1979) – 51
  6. Kit ‘N’ Carlyle (NEA) (1980) - 22
* Adam's Apple debuted in 1980, but didn't make it onto the 300 until now


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