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'Orphan Annie' strip wrapping next month

CHICAGO, May 13 (UPI) -- The iconic comic strip "Little Orphan Annie" will end its more than 85-year run in U.S. daily newspapers next month, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The strip, which spawned radio shows, movies, a Broadway musical and merchandise, once appeared in hundreds of newspapers, but now runs in fewer than 20.

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The Tribune, which stopped publishing the strip in 1992, said the final June 13 Sunday panel will end with adventurous Annie's guardian Daddy Warbucks wondering what happened to her in her latest encounter with the villainous Butcher of the Balkans.

Tribune Media Services, which started the strip, said the cliffhanger paves the way for a possible comeback for the intrepid heroine.

"Annie is definitely not dying," Steve Tippie, TMS's vice president of licensing, told the Tribune. "(She) will definitely have a life beyond this newspaper incarnation. … The daily newspaper strip will go away. Now, that doesn't mean that Annie won't come back … whether it's (in) comic books, graphic novels, in print, electronic. It's just too rich a vein (not) to mine."

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