LOLLY (AND PEPPER)Medium: Newspaper comics
Distributed by: Chicago Tribune Syndicate
First Appeared: 1955
Creator: Pete Hansen
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Comic strips about single young women whose most important function was to look pretty had what is probably their greatest proliferation during the 1920s. Polly & Her Pals went back a little farther, but the '20s were when The Affairs of Jane, Boots & Her Buddies, Dumb Dora and
many other examples of the genre started. In the '50s, the hot new genre was high-spirited kids, such as Miss Peach's students, Winthrop, Dennis the Menace and stuff like that. Fritzi Ritz, a '20s survivor that was finding fresh popularity by emphasizing the kid aspect with her niece Nancy, had become just another kid strip.
That's the route chosen by former Disney animator Pete Hansen when he launched Lolly on Monday, March 7, 1955, through The Chicago Tribune/New York News Syndicate (Gasoline Alley, Broom-Hilda). Hansen's prior hewspaper comics experience includes Flapdoodles, which he did for King Features Syndicate (Prince Valiant, Mallard Fillmore) from 1950 through '56. Lolly would have fit right in with Jane, Boots, Dora etc. (also Margy, Mazie and the rest), but her kid brother, Pepper, who shared stardom in fact if not name, appealed more to the Nancy crowd.
Even without Pepper, she'd have stood out from the crowd of pretty girl comics stars. Most didn't have their grandmothers as prominent supporting characters. Lolly's Granny lived with her and Pepper. Lolly was the breadwinner (no relation). She lived up to this responsibility by working in an unspecified office job for Mr. Quimby, who completed the roster of major supporting characters.
Lolly circulated in the middle range, nowhere near the stratospheric heights of Blondie, but also not approaching the Stygian depths of Tim Tyler's Luck during the 1990s. It had only one small media breakout a Dell comic book, which had six issues between 1957 and '62.
At Dell, the feature's title was slightly altered, reflecting who really shared stardom. Lolly & Pepper first appeared as Dell's Four Color Comics #832 (September, 1957). Four Color was the title where Dell tossed everything from Albert & Pogo to Dondi. Four subsequent issues of Four Color were devoted to Lolly & Pepper over the next several years, then continued for one more issue after they'd stopped using Four Color Comics as a catch-all title. Hansen wrote and drew all six.
The Dell series scarcely outlasted the 1950s. But at the Tribune Syndicate she ran until 1983.