Topper (comic strip)


Topper (comic strip)

A topper in comic strip parlance is a small strip within a full page Sunday strip drawn by the same artist as the larger strip. Toppers usually ran at the top of the page (hence their name), but sometimes ran at the bottom of the page. The purpose of a topper was to allow newspapers to drop the topper and crowd an additional strip or an additional ad into the Sunday comics, or to reformat a strip from full page to tabloid by adding or dropping the topper. Toppers became rare after World War II, when there were fewer full page strips, and vanished a few decades later. "Maw Green" in "Little Orphan Annie" was the last Sunday strip topper, except for the brief use of the topper "Sawdust" in "Dick Tracy".

Some underground and alternative comic artists have used toppers in their work, though not in the context of a Sunday strip. The strip "Fat Freddy's Cat" appeared as a topper in the underground comic book "The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers". Tony Millionaire's weekly comic strip "Maakies" is perhaps the only contemporary syndicated strip to run a topper (which appears at the bottom of the main strip and lacks a consistent title). Toppers have also been used in some comics by Chris Ware and Daniel Clowes that mimic the format of a Sunday comics page.

List of toppers

*"Blondie" -- "Colonel Potterby and the Duchess"
*"Bringing Up Father" -- "Rosie's Beau"
*"Dick Tracy" -- "Sawdust" (bottom of the page, short run)
*"The Family Upstairs" -- "Krazy Kat" (bottom of the page, first appearance of Krazy Kat, later continued as separate strip)
*"The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers" -- "Fat Freddy's Cat" (underground imitation of the old comic strip format, usually bottom of the page)
*"Flash Gordon" -- "Jungle Jim" (sometimes run as a separate strip)
*"Gasoline Alley" -- "That Phoney Nickel" (bottom of the page)
*"The Katzenjammer Kids" -- "Dinglehoofer und his dog Adolph"
*"Li'l Abner" -- "Small Fry" (aka "Small Change"), short run
*"Little Jimmy" -- "Mr. Jack", 1926 - 1935
*"Little Orphan Annie" -- "Maw Green" (bottom of the page, the last topper in the Sunday comics)
*"Mutt and Jeff" -- "Cicero's Cat"
*"Polly and Her Pals" -- "Dot and Dash"
*"Prince Valiant" -- "The Medieval Castle" (short run)
*"Smitty" -- "Herby"
*"Superman" -- "Lois Lane Girl Reporter"
*"Thimble Theater" -- "Sappo"


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