1995 32¢ Brenda Starr, Reporter
Comic Strip Classics
- Third sheet in the Classic Collection Series
Stamp Category: Commemorative
Set: Comic Strip Classics
Value: 32¢, rate for first-class mail
First Day of Issue: October 1, 1995
First Day Cities: Boca Raton, Florida
Quantity Issued: 300,000,000
Printed by: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Format: Panes of 20 in sheets of 120
Perforations: 10.1 x 10.2
Why the stamps were issued: The Comic Strip Classics sheet was the third issue in the Classic Collection Series. There was push to create a stamp to honor American comics as early as the 1960’s, but didn’t get real consideration until 1993. With the 100th anniversary of the comic The Yellow Kid, a comic committee, and an 83-page proposal the USPS finally agreed.
About the stamp designs: Even though only one stamp was approved, Terrence McCaffrey, head of stamp design, thought there was no way to honor American Comics with one single stamp. Therefore, he had a list of all proposed stamps and had Carl Herrman, art director, mock up a sheet of 20 stamps. McCaffrey wanted all the stamps to be taken from original panels by their respected artist. Herrmann worked on going through thousands of panels to find comics of the 20 chosen that showed the central theme of the comic in one panel with clean lines. Then with the help of American Color, that colorizes most of the comics in American newspapers, he was able to colorize them with accurate color choices, even those that were outdated.
Brenda Starr, Reporter (#3000t) – The first purposed design showed Brenda on her bed crying with a man standing in the back. This was nixed due the indication of abuse. The Citizen Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) said she was a reporter and should be shown in a newsroom or something. So, the image shown on the stamp replaced the other. Herrman took out one of the characters from the background and Tribune Media Services, the strip’s syndicate made him change out her head and then it was done.
About the printing process: In order to include the text on the back of each stamp, it had to be printed under the gum, so that it would still be visible if a stamp was soaked off an envelope. Because people would need to lick the stamps, the ink had to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration as non-toxic. The printer also used an extra-fine 300-line screen, which resulted in some of the highest-quality gravure stamp printings in recent years.
History the stamps represent:
Brenda Starr, Reporter
During the first two decades of the comic strip, most female characters appeared only to highlight their male counterparts. As women began entering the work force, however, they inspired numerous strips (most drawn by men) that reflected their growing presence in the work place. But beginning in 1940, Brenda Starr and her creator Dale Messick offered female readers an alternative to traditional male-dominated adventure strips.
Dale Messick has the distinction of being the only woman among the twenty-cartoonist honored, as well as the only creator who is still living. Earning this distinction was not easy. After numerous attempts to have her strip published, the cartoonist changed her name from Dalia and began mailing her work to avoid prejudice, and in 1940 Brenda Starr was accepted for distribution by the Tribune-News Syndicate.
Her strip featured “girl reporter Brenda Starr,” whose big-city newsroom assignments usually led to adventure and romance. Through the years, Brenda Starr has gained an intense following, and has often been credited with inspiring many young women to seek independence and follow bold career paths.