Over the last few years of this survey we’ve seen a familiar story over and over. The top rookie strips start big and then they have big fall. This has happened to strips like Star Wars and The Muppets. We have also had strips like Winnie the Pooh which had a big start then would have a small fall and then take a long time to completely disappear.
In most cases, strips that really have what it takes to get big and stay big tend to have a slow start and build over time. This has happened to Garfield, Bloom County and For Better or For Worse.
This year we have something that has not happened since we started this journey. The top two rookie strips would have long and successful careers. Back in 1977 we had Amazing Spider-man and Shoe, this year we have Mother Goose and Grimm and On The Fastrack taking the top two spots.
Coming in third place is an adventure strip, Can You Solve The Mystery? This one goes down the well-worn path of starting big and then imploding.
Here are the rookies of 1984:
Mother Goose and Grimm – 29 (Tribune Media Services)
On The Fastrack – 18 (King Features)
Can You Solve The Mystery? – 14 (News America Syndicate)
Adam – 13 (Universal Press Syndicate)
Benchley – 10 (Register and Tribune Syndicate)
Rock Channel – 7 (Register and Tribune Syndicate)
Rose Is Rose – 6 (United Features)
Middle Ages – 4 (Washington Post Writers Group)
Quigmans – 3 (Los Angeles Times Syndicate)
Betty Boop & Felix – 3 (King Features)
Bumgardner – 3 (Los Angeles Times Syndicate)
Here are the 1985 stats for the most successful strips that started since our 300 series began, strips that began between in 1977-1984:
Garfield (1978) – 187
Shoe (1977) – 98
For Better or For Worse (1979) – 79
Bloom County (1980) – 77
Marvin (1982) – 53