United Feature Syndicate

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United Feature Syndicate
Print syndication
Founded 1919; 99 years ago (1919)
Founder E. W. Scripps
Headquarters United States,
Key people
Norris Huse (General Manager, c. 1919–1928)
Monte Bourjaily (General Manager, 1928–c. 1937)[1]
Services editorial columns and comic strips
Owner E. W. Scripps Company (1919–2011)
Universal Uclick/Andrews McMeel Syndication (2011–present)
Parent E. W. Scripps Company (1919–1978)
United Media (1978–2011)
Andrews McMeel Universal (2011–present)
Divisions North American Newspaper Alliance (1972–c. 1980)

United Feature Syndicate is a large editorial column and comic strip newspaper syndication service based in the United States and established in 1919. Originally part of E. W. Scripps Company, it was part of United Media (along with the Newspaper Enterprise Association) from 1978 to 2011, and is now a division of Andrews McMeel Syndication. United Features has syndicated many notable comic strips, including Peanuts, Garfield, Li'l Abner, Dilbert, Nancy, and Marmaduke.

History

United Feature Syndicate was formed in 1919.[1][2] From 1922 to 1958, United Features was the column, feature (and comics) division of Scripps' United Press Association.[1] Authors syndicated by United Features in its early years included Frank A. Vanderlip, Octavus Roy Cohen, David Lloyd George, Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, Herbert Hoover, Sinclair Lewis, Benito Mussolini, Édouard Herriot, and Heywood Broun.[3]

It became a dominant player in the syndication market in the early 1930s. In March 1930, United Features acquired the Metropolitan Newspaper Service (ostensibly from the Bell Syndicate).[3] And in late February 1931, Scripps acquired the New York World, which controlled the syndication arms of the Pulitzer company: World Feature Service[3] and Press Publishing Co.[2] (which unlike other syndicates were owned by the paper rather than being separate entities).

The Metropolitan Newspaper Service acquisition brought over the comic strips Tarzan and Ella Cinders. The World Feature Service acquisition brought over the comic strips The Captain and the Kids, Everyday Movies, Fritzi Ritz, Hawkshaw the Detective, Joe Jinks, and Little Mary Mixup.[1] From this point, United Features became a successful distributor of newspaper comics,[4] for the first time distributing color Sunday strips.[3] An April 1933 article in Fortune described United Features as one of the "Big Four" American syndicates (along with King Features Syndicate, Chicago Tribune Syndicate, and the Bell Syndicate).[5]

In 1934, United Features launched its first original strip, Al Capp's Li'l Abner.[1] As Li'l Abner's popularity increased, creator Capp lampooned United Features in his strip-within-a-strip, Fearless Fosdick, which featured the abusive and corrupt "Squeezeblood Syndicate."

Robert M. Hall was a sales manager at United Features starting in 1935; he left in 1944 to start the Post Syndicate.

From 1936 to 1954, United Feature published their own line of comic books, using their comic strip features as characters. Lev Gleason, who in the 1940s and 1950s published a number of popular comics titles, was an editor at United Feature in the beginning, including the company's first title, Tip Top Comics.[6] Three United Feature titles published more than 100 issues: Tip Top Comics (188 issues, Apr. 1936–Sept./Oct. 1954), Sparkler Comics (120 issues, July 1941–Nov./Dec. 1954), and Comics on Parade (104 issues, Apr. 1938–Feb. 1955). The company even created its own original superheroes: Iron Vic, Mirror Man, and Spark Man[1] (none of whom caught on). After ending the United Feature comics line in 1954, a few of their titles would be continued by St. John Publications. The rest of their comic book properties were acquired by Dell Comics in 1958.[1]

In 1968, United Features syndicated about 50 features to 1500 clients.[7]

In 1972, United Features Syndicate acquired and absorbed the North American Newspaper Alliance and the Bell-McClure Syndicate into its operations.[8]

In May 1978 Scripps merged United Feature Syndicate and the Newspaper Enterprise Association to form United Media Enterprises.[9][10] United Media continued to syndicate strips under the United Feature Syndicate brand.

In 1994, Jim Davis's company, Paws, Inc., purchased the rights to Garfield (including the strips from 1978 to 1993) from United Features. The strip is currently distributed by Andrews McMeel Syndication, while rights for the strip remain with Paws.

On February 24, 2011, United Media struck a distribution deal with Universal Uclick (now known as Andrews McMeel Syndication) for syndication of the company's 150 comic strip and news features, which became effective on June 1 of that year.[11][12] While United Media effectively ceased to exist,[13] Scripps still maintains copyrights and intellectual property rights.[14][15] The United Feature Syndicate brand still continues to be used on many strips.

United Feature Syndicate comic strips

Current United Features strips

Branded UFS

Branded Andrews-McMeel

Concluded United Features strips

United Feature comic books (selected)

Fritzi Ritz and Phil Fumble, Tip Topper no. 1, October, 1949.
  • The Captain and the Kids (17 issues, 1949–1953)
  • Comics on Parade (104 issues, Apr. 1938–Feb. 1955)
  • Curly Kayoe (7 issues, 1946–1950)
  • Fritzi Ritz (15 issues, 1949, Mar./Apr. 1953–Sept./Oct. 1954) — continued by St. John Publications
  • Nancy and Sluggo (8 issues, 1949–1954) — continued by St. John Publications
  • Single Series (30 issues, 1938–1942)
  • Sparkle Comics (33 issues, Oct./Nov. 1948–Dec. 1953/Jan. 1954)
  • Sparkler Comics (120 issues, July 1941–Nov./Dec. 1954)
  • Tip Top Comics (188 issues, Apr. 1936–Sept./Oct. 1954) — continued by St. John Publications
  • Tip Topper Comics (28 issues, Oct./Nov. 1949–Apr./May 1954)
  • United Comics (19 issues, 1950–Jan./Feb. 1953)

Syndicated editorial cartoons

Syndicated columns

Licensed properties

Discontinued features

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Booker, M. Keith. "United Feature Syndicate," in Comics through Time: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas (ABC-CLIO, 2014), p. 399.
  2. ^ a b c "United Feature Syndicate Buys Metropolitan Service From Elser: Both Firms Will Retain Separate Identities, With Elser Remaining as Vice-President — Monte Bourjaily to Direct Both Organizations," Editor & Publisher (March 15, 1930). Archived at "News of Yore 1930: Another Syndicate Gobbled," Stripper's Guide (May 4, 2010).
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Hudson, Frederic, Alfred McClung Lee, and Frank Luther Mott. American Journalism 1690-1940, Volume 4 (Psychology Press, 2000), p. 591.
  4. ^ Ron Goulart, The Adventurous Decade. Arlington House, New Rochelle, N.Y. 1975. ISBN 9780870002526 (p. 26-7,93-5).
  5. ^ Jeet Heer, "Crane's Great Gamble", in Roy Crane, Buz Sawyer: 1, The War in the Pacific. Seattle, Wash.: Fantagraphics Books, 2011. ISBN 9781606993620
  6. ^ Bails, Jerry; Ware, Hames, eds. "Gleason, Lev". Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999. Archived from the original on September 8, 2015. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
  7. ^ Maley, Don. "Super Roads to Riches are Paved with Comics," Editor & Publisher (Nov. 30, 1968). Archived at Stripper's Guide. Accessed Nov. 12, 2018.
  8. ^ Astor, Dave. "Goldberg To Retire From United Media," Editor & Publisher (December 17, 2001): "The executive joined United in 1972 when it bought Bell McClure Syndicate and North American Newspaper Alliance, where Goldberg was president."
  9. ^ "News Features Services Merge As United Media". United Press International. May 19, 1978. Retrieved 2015-02-23.
  10. ^ "United Features consolidates," The Comics Journal #44 (Jan. 1979), p. 17.
  11. ^ Universal Uclick to Provide Syndicate Services for United Media, PR Newswire, February 24, 2011.
  12. ^ United Media Outsources Content to Universal Uclick[permanent dead link], Editor & Publisher, April 29, 2011.[dead link]
  13. ^ Cavna, Michael (July 1, 2011). "RIP, UNITED MEDIA: A century-old syndicate closes its historic doors". The Washington Post.
  14. ^ Universal Uclick to Provide Syndicate Services for United Media, PR Newswire, February 24, 2011. Accessed February 24, 2011.
  15. ^ [1][permanent dead link], Editor & Publisher, April 29, 2011. Accessed April 29, 2011.
  16. ^ Astor, Dave. "Comic Creator and ‘Cartoonist Profiles’ Editor Jud Hurd Dies," Editor & Publisher (September 19, 2005).
  17. ^ Gardner, Alan. "MIKE THOMPSON JOINS STEVE BREEN ON GRANDE [sic AVENUE,"] The Daily Cartoonist (February 5, 2009).
  18. ^ Willett, Johanna. "Comic strip creators talk life, laughs," Arizona Daily Star (July 13, 2014).
  19. ^ E&P Staff. "‘World of Wonder’ Celebrates a Decade in Syndication," Editor & Publisher (September 2, 2010).
  20. ^ Abbie and Slats at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on July 28, 2017.
  21. ^ Dave Strickler, Syndicated comic strips and artists, 1924-1995 : the complete index, Cambria, Cal. :Comics Access, 1995. (p. 150, 172)
  22. ^ Astor, David (July 29, 1995). "'Shagg' to Creators". Editor & Publisher. Pg. 34
  23. ^ Billy Make Believe[permanent dead link] at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on August 27, 2015.
  24. ^ a b c Ron Goulart, Encyclopedia of American Comics. New York, Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 9780816025824 (pp. 33-4,37,57,73-74,106,262-263)
  25. ^ Maurice Horn, Comics of the American West. South Hackensack, N.J. : Stoeger Pub. Co. ; Chicago. ISBN 9780883170489, pp. 50-51.
  26. ^ Meagher entry, Lambiek's Comiclopedia. Accessed Oct. 26, 2018.
  27. ^ Markstein, Don. "Broncho Bill," Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Accessed Nov. 23, 2011.
  28. ^ a b c d e f Ron Goulart,The Funnies : 100 years of American comic strips. Holbrook, Mass. : Adams Pub., 1995. ISBN 1558505393. (pp.66 72,117,148-9,159,176,189,194-5,211)
  29. ^ Holtz, Allan. "Obscurity of the Day: Cynical Susie," Stripper's Guide (April 03, 2017).
  30. ^ Trina Robbins and Catherine Yronwode,Women and the Comics. New York, Eclipse Books, 1985. ISBN 9780913035023 (pp. 71-2).
  31. ^ Holtz, Allan. "Robert L. Dickey and his Dogs," Stripper's Guide (November 3, 2005).
  32. ^ Batsford entry, Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999. Accessed Nov. 15, 2018.
  33. ^ Gamin and Patches at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on July 20, 2017.
  34. ^ Jay, Alex. "Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Erwin L. Hess," Stripper's Guide (April 19, 2018).
  35. ^ Moira Davison Reynolds, Comic Strip Artists in American Newspapers, 1945-1980. McFarland, 2003. ISBN 9780786415519 (pp. 126-7)
  36. ^ Hap Hopper at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived March 8, 2015, at WebCite from the original on July 29, 2017.
  37. ^ Grothkopf entry, Lambiek's Comiclopedia. Accessed Dec. 1, 2018.
  38. ^ a b Stephen D. Becker, Comic Art In America. (New York : Simon and Schuster, 1959), pp. 159, 326, 327, 366.
  39. ^ Jim Hardy at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on July 28, 2017.
  40. ^ Markstein, Don. "Joe Jinks," Don Markstein's Toonpedia. Accessed Dec. 7, 2017.
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  44. ^ Heintjes, Tom (February 28, 2014). "The Life (and Death?) of Robin: Bob Lubbers' Robin Malone". Hogan's Alley. Bull Moose Publishing (19). Archived from the original on March 25, 2016.
  45. ^ Markstein, Don. "Kevin the Bold," '"Toonpedia. Accessed Nov. 5, 2018.
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  51. ^ Jay, Alex. "Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Loy Byrnes/Roy B. Nyles," Stripper's Guide (February 19, 2015).
  52. ^ "An Interview with Gil Kane", The Comics Journal #38 (February 1978), pp. 39-41
  53. ^ CollectAir: "Hal Forrest and Tailspin Tommy"
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External links

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