ⓘ United Feature Syndicate is a large editorial column and comic strip newspaper syndication service based in the United States and established in 1919. Originall ..

United Feature Syndicate

ⓘ United Feature Syndicate

United Feature Syndicate is a large editorial column and comic strip newspaper syndication service based in the United States and established in 1919. Originally part of E. W. Scripps Company, it was part of United Media from 1978 to 2011, and is now a division of Andrews McMeel Syndication. United Features has syndicated many notable comic strips, including Peanuts, Garfield, Lil Abner, Dilbert, Nancy, and Marmaduke.


1. History

United Feature Syndicate was formed in 1919. From 1922 to 1958, United Features was the column, feature and comics division of Scripps United Press Association. Authors syndicated by United Features in its early years included Frank A. Vanderlip, Octavus Roy Cohen, David Lloyd George, Vicente Blasco Ibañez, Herbert Hoover, Sinclair Lewis, Benito Mussolini, Edouard Herriot, and Heywood Broun.

It became a dominant player in the syndication market in the early 1930s. In March 1930, United Features acquired the Metropolitan Newspaper Service ostensibly from the Bell Syndicate. And in late February 1931, Scripps acquired the New York World, which controlled the syndication arms of the Pulitzer company: World Feature Service and Press Publishing Co. which unlike other syndicates were owned by the paper rather than being separate entities.

The Metropolitan Newspaper Service acquisition brought over the comic strips Tarzan and Ella Cinders. The World Feature Service acquisition brought over the comic strips The Captain and the Kids, Everyday Movies, Fritzi Ritz, Hawkshaw the Detective, Joe Jinks, and Little Mary Mixup. From this point, United Features became a successful distributor of newspaper comics, for the first time distributing color Sunday strips. An April 1933 article in Fortune described United Features as one of the "Big Four" American syndicates.

In 1934, United Features launched its first original strip, Al Capps Lil Abner. As Lil Abner s popularity increased, creator Capp lampooned United Features in his strip-within-a-strip, Fearless Fosdick, which featured the abusive and corrupt "Squeezeblood Syndicate."

Robert M. Hall was a sales manager at United Features starting in 1935; he left in 1944 to start the Post Syndicate.

From 1936 to 1954, United Feature published their own line of comic books, using their comic strip features as characters. Lev Gleason, who in the 1940s and 1950s published a number of popular comics titles, was an editor at United Feature in the beginning, including the companys first title, Tip Top Comics. Three United Feature titles published more than 100 issues: Tip Top Comics 188 issues, Apr. 1936–Sept./Oct. 1954, Sparkler Comics 120 issues, July 1941–Nov./Dec. 1954, and Comics on Parade 104 issues, Apr. 1938–Feb. 1955. The company even created its own original superheroes: Iron Vic, Mirror Man, and Spark Man none of whom caught on. After ending the United Feature comics line in 1954, a few of their titles would be continued by St. John Publications. The rest of their comic book properties were acquired by Dell Comics in 1958.

In 1968, United Features syndicated about 50 features to 1500 clients.

In 1972, United Features Syndicate acquired and absorbed the North American Newspaper Alliance and the Bell-McClure Syndicate into its operations.

In May 1978 Scripps merged United Feature Syndicate and the Newspaper Enterprise Association to form United Media Enterprises. United Media continued to syndicate strips under the United Feature Syndicate brand.

In 1994, Jim Daviss company, Paws, Inc., purchased the rights to Garfield including the strips from 1978 to 1993 from United Features. The strip is currently distributed by Andrews McMeel Syndication, while rights for the strip remain with Paws.

On February 24, 2011, United Media struck a distribution deal with Universal Uclick now known as Andrews McMeel Syndication for syndication of the companys 150 comic strip and news features, which became effective on June 1 of that year. While United Media effectively ceased to exist, Scripps still maintains copyrights and intellectual property rights. The United Feature Syndicate brand still continues to be used on many strips.


2.1. United Feature Syndicate comic strips Branded UFS

  • Marmaduke originally by Brad Anderson c. 1970–present - acquired from National Newspaper Syndicate where it launched in 1954
  • Get Fuzzy by Darby Conley launched 1999
  • Tarzan originally by Hal Foster 1932–2001 - acquired from Metropolitan Newspaper Service where it launched in 1929; in reprints
  • Monty by Jim Meddick launched 1985
  • F Minus launched 2002; entered syndication 2006
  • Ripleys Believe It or Not! 1989–present - acquired from King Features Syndicate; originally launched 1918
  • Lola by Todd Clark 2005–present - acquired from Tribune Media Services, where it launched in 1999
  • Rip Haywire by Dan Thompson launched 2009
  • Jump Start by Robb Armstrong launched 1989
  • Prickly City by Scott Stantis launched 2004
  • Health Capsules originally by Dr. Michael Petti and Jud Hurd; then by Bron Smith launched 1961
  • Shortcuts by Jeff Harris launched 1999
  • Drabble by Kevin Fagan launched 1979
  • Uncle Arts Funland originally by Art Nugent launched 1933 - acquired from Bell-McClure Syndicate in 1972
  • Nancy originally by Ernie Bushmiller launched 1938
  • The Knight Life by Keith Knight launched 2008
  • Rose Is Rose originally by Pat Brady launched 1984

2.2. United Feature Syndicate comic strips Branded Andrews-McMeel

  • KidSpot by Dan Thompson launched 2011
  • Garfield by Jim Davis
  • KidTown by Steve McGarry launched 2011 - formerly known as KidCity
  • 9 Chickweed Lane by Brooke McEldowney launched 1993
  • Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz 1950–2000 - in reprints
  • World of Wonder by Laurie Triefeldt launched 2000
  • Frazz by Jef Mallett launched 2001
  • Over the Hedge by Michael Fry & T. Lewis launched 1995
  • Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis launched 2001
  • Off the Mark by Mark Parisi launched 1987
  • Graffiti by Gene Mora launched May 3, 2011
  • Betty by Gary Delainey and Gerry Rasmussen launched 1991
  • Luann by Greg Evans 1996–present - acquired from North America Syndicate, where it launched in 1985
  • Brevity, currently by Dan Thompson launched January 3, 2005
  • The Buckets originally by Scott Stantis 1994–present - acquired from Tribune Media Services where in launched in 1990
  • Grand Avenue originally by Steve Breen; now by Mike Thompson launched 1999
  • Reality Check by Dave Whamond launched 1995


3. United Feature comic books selected

  • The Captain and the Kids 17 issues, 1949–1953
  • Fritzi Ritz 15 issues, 1949, Mar./Apr. 1953–Sept./Oct. 1954 - continued by St. John Publications
  • Comics on Parade 104 issues, Apr. 1938–Feb. 1955
  • Curly Kayoe 7 issues, 1946–1950
  • Single Series 30 issues, 1938–1942
  • Sparkler Comics 120 issues, July 1941–Nov./Dec. 1954
  • United Comics 19 issues, 1950–Jan./Feb. 1953
  • Tip Topper Comics 28 issues, Oct./Nov. 1949–Apr./May 1954
  • Tip Top Comics 188 issues, Apr. 1936–Sept./Oct. 1954 - continued by St. John Publications
  • Sparkle Comics 33 issues, Oct./Nov. 1948–Dec. 1953/Jan. 1954
  • Nancy and Sluggo 8 issues, 1949–1954 - continued by St. John Publications

4. Discontinued features

  • Robert Ruark late 1940s–early 1950s
  • Frederick C. by Fred Othman 1948–1949
  • Totem Pole by H. Allen Smith 1940s–1950s
  • Skolskys Hollywood by Sidney Skolsky 1930s–c. 1970s
  • Washington Merry-Go-Round by Drew Pearson 1932–1944 and Jack Anderson
  • Washington Calling by Marquis Childs 1962–c. 1980s
  • My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt 1935–1962