Comic Strip / Comics

Was Annie a Comic Strip First?

In the world of comics, there are a few characters that have transcended their comic book origins and become cultural icons. One such character is the plucky orphan girl, Annie.

However, did you know that Annie was actually a comic strip before she became a beloved musical and movie character? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Annie’s origins and how she made the leap from comic strip to pop culture phenomenon.

Origins of Annie

Annie was created by Harold Gray, who was a cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune. The first appearance of Annie in comic strip form was on August 5th, 1924.

The story centered around an orphan girl named Annie who lived in a brutal orphanage run by the cruel Miss Agatha Hannigan. Despite her harsh circumstances, Annie remained optimistic and dreamed of finding her parents.

The Appeal of Annie

Annie quickly became popular with readers due to her plucky attitude and determination to overcome adversity. She was also relatable to many readers who may have faced their own hardships in life. Additionally, Gray’s artwork was top-notch and helped bring the story to life.

Annie Goes Hollywood

In 1932, Annie made the jump from comic strip to Hollywood when she appeared in her first movie titled “Little Orphan Annie”. The film starred Mitzi Green as Annie and featured some memorable musical numbers including “Tomorrow” which would later become one of the most iconic songs in musical theater history.

The Rise of “Annie”

Annie’s popularity continued to grow throughout the 1930s and 40s with several more films being produced featuring the character. However, it wasn’t until 1977 when “Annie” became a full-fledged Broadway musical that she truly became a pop culture phenomenon. The musical featured memorable songs like “Hard Knock Life” and “Maybe” and won seven Tony Awards including Best Musical.


In conclusion, Annie may be best known as a beloved musical and movie character, but her origins lie in the world of comic strips. Harold Gray’s plucky orphan girl captured the hearts of readers with her optimism and determination to overcome adversity.

Her popularity only continued to grow with her transition to Hollywood and ultimately Broadway. Today, Annie remains an enduring character in pop culture history and a testament to the enduring appeal of comics.