Susie Q. smitten by the love bug. Artist: Linda Walter.

SUSIE Q. SMITH

Medium: Newspaper comics
Distributed by: King Features Syndicate
First Appeared: 1945
Creators: Linda and Jerry Walter
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Like her contemporaries, Aggie Mack, Candy and Patsy Walker (before her conversion to a superhero), Susie Q. Smith was a …

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… female Archie-type — not exactly an imitator, because Archie, who had started only four years earlier, hadn't yet become popular enough to spawn imitators, but part of his genre. She attended high school, where her teachers often seemed unreasonable to her, interacted with the opposite gender in a typically adolescent way, and her parents didn't completely understand her. And she was cute and perky as only a teenage girl can be.

Susie was the star of a comic strip distributed by King Features, the biggest of the comic strip syndicates, whose other offerings have ranged from Jackys Diary to Prince Valiant. King launched the strip in both daily and Sunday form in 1945. Daily, she was only in a panel at first, but it expanded into a full, multi-panel strip on February 7, 1953.

The creators were Harold "Jerry" Walter and his wife, Linda. Jerry was also responsible for Jellybean Jones, who has nothing to do with Jughead Jones's young sister, a modern-day addition to the Archie cast of characters. Together, they did The Lively Ones during the 1960s. Tho each was capable of doing both major jobs in comic strip production, their usual working method was for Jerry to dream up the ideas and write the dialog, while Linda did the artwork.

The Walters also collaborated on a series of Susie Q. Smith comic books for Dell Comics. Instead of reprinting newspaper strips, these ran new stories by the Walters. Between 1951 and '54, four issues were published as part of the Four Color Comics series, where many minor comic strips, including Dotty Dripple, Timmy and Rusty Riley had found a home. It had no other media spin-offs.

Susie Q. Smith had a respectable run in the newspapers, but it ended in 1959.

— DDM

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Text ©2006-08 Donald D. Markstein. Art © King Features.