Jane Arden was an internationally syndicated daily newspaper comic strip which ran from 1927 to 1968. The title character was the original “spunky girl reporter,” actively seeking to infiltrate and expose criminal activity rather than just report on its consequences and served as a prototype for later characters such as Superman supporting character Lois Lane and fellow comic strip heroine, Brenda Starr. Jane Arden was only moderately successful in the United States, but it was highly popular in Canada and Australia. The strip was widely reprinted in comic books and was also adapted into both a film and a radio series.
Jane Arden was created by writer Monte Barrett and artist Frank Ellis for the Register and Tribune Syndicate. Barrett wrote the strip until his death in 1949, and his stories were used until 1952 when Walt Graham assumed the scripting duties. Ellis was one of five artists to draw Jane Arden over its 41-year run.
The work of Ellis’ replacement, Russell E. Ross, is perhaps most identified with the character, as he drew the strip for 20 years. Ross introduced Tubby, an office boy sidekick transported from his previous Slim and Tubby strip. It was during Ross’ stint that the strip first included Jane Arden paper dolls and accompanying outfits.
Jane Arden was one of the first comic strip characters to become involved in World War II. Immediately after the outbreak of war in Europe, Barrett and Ross scrapped their current storylines and gave her a war assignment in the fictional neutral kingdom of Anderia (September 25, 1939).
Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Mary McGrory credited Jane Arden with instilling her interest in journalism.
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