Comics, Comic books & Graphic Novels

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Little Orphan Annie

Harold Gray

1924

Annie was a daily American comic strip created by Harold Gray. The strip took its name from the 1885 poem "Little Orphant Annie" by James Whitcomb Riley, and it made its debut on August 5, 1924, in the New York Daily News. Annie is a ten-year-old orphan. Her distinguishing physical characteristics are auburn curly locks, a red dress and vacant circles for eyes. Her catchphrases are "Gee whiskers" and "Leapin' lizards!" Annie attributes her lasting youthfulness to her birthday being on October 15. Annie is a plucky, generous, compassionate, and optimistic youngster who can hold her own against bullies, and has a strong and intuitive sense of right and wrong. The story starts in a Dickensian orphanage where Annie is routinely abused by the cold and sarcastic matron Miss Asthma, who eventually is replaced by the equally mean Miss Treat (whose name is a play on the word "mistreat").

One day, the wealthy but mean-spirited Mrs. Warbucks takes Annie into her home "on trial". She makes it clear that she does not like Annie and tries to send her back to "the Home", but one of her society friends catches her in the act, and immediately, to her disgust, she changes her mind.

Her husband Oliver, who returned from a business trip, instantly develops a paternal affection for Annie and instructs her to address him as "Daddy" but the Warbucks never adopt Annie and her orphan status becomes an important symbol of her resilience.