Here we have a recent obscurity, a delightful gag feature titled Meehan Streak by Kieran Meehan. Meehan is Scottish and made a name for himself over there in the 1980s and 90s with various features. In the 90s he invaded the colonies by contributing to King Features’ ‘edgy’ panel cartoon series The New Breed. King Features editor Jay Kennedy was impressed with Meehan’s work and encouraged him to come up with his own feature. The result was Meehan Streak, a daily and Sunday gag strip with no continuing characters.
Ultimately Kennedy ended up not taking the feature, and Meehan shopped it around. Meehan Streak ended up with a syndication contract at the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. The feature debuted sometime in 1999 (sorry, I have no exact start date) and ran until March 27 2005. Syndication moved to Tribune Media Services when the Trib and Times combined ownership in 2001.
Although the strip was, in my opinion, a definite cut above the average, it suffered the almost inescapable fate of features that don’t have a continuing cast of characters. As much as readers might have enjoyed the strip, there was no hook that would make them storm the battlements at a newspaper if it was dropped. Newspaper editors, therefore, tended to think of it as a disposable feature. When a syndicate salesman plopped the next ‘instant classic’ on the editor’s desk, Meehan Streak was a prime target for cancellation.
When Meehan Streak ended its run in 2005, Meehan bounced right back with a new feature titled A Lawyer, a Doctor and a Cop, this time for King. The feature is still in syndication but isn’t taking the world by storm. The title was changed to Pros & Cons in 2008, but that doesn’t seem to have led to any big jump in popularity. Donning my syndication guru turban again, I say the problem is the same — lack of memorable characters.