Blondie and Dagwood Bumstead are about to celebrate their 75th anniversary as one of the world's most popular couples and many of their cartoon colleagues are coming to the party.
Blondie and Dagwood
Garfield, Hagar the Horrible, Dick Tracy and Beetle Bailey are among the characters who will join the Bumsteads on Sunday, Sept. 4.
President Bush and his wife Laura will appear a week earlier, according to Blondie cartoonist Dean Young. He said the strip appears in over 2,300 newspapers in 55 countries with a readership of 250 million in 35 languages.
And Blondie and Dagwood will show up in several other comic strips during the next few weeks as they prepare for the big event.
"I'm hoping it will be a lot of fun for the readers," Young said.
Blondie was started by Young's father Murat "Chic" Young in 1930. Dean Young, 66, took over the strip in 1973 when his father died.
"He created these wonderful characters. He was a genius," Young said of his father.
When the strip debuted on September 8, 1930, its heroine was Blondie Boopadoop, who was pretty and single. Dagwood was the playboy son of a railroad tycoon and one of her several boyfriends.
Blondie was popular at first but interest in a strip about rich characters declined as the Depression spread.
In 1932, Chic Young had Blondie and Dagwood fall in love. They were married in 1933, but Dagwood's parents disapproved of Blondie and disinherited him, forcing him to go to work and live a middle class life. Their son Alexander was born in 1934 and daughter Cookie joined the family in 1941.
Young said he tries to keep the strip contemporary with the characters using computers and cell phones.
In 1991, Blondie got her first job when she started a catering business with her friend Tootsie.
Young said at the heart of the strip's success was the couple's relationship. "Blondie and Dagwood love each other. It's nice to see that," he said.
The strip's popularity led to a series of 28 Blondie movies between 1938 and 1950 as well as radio and television shows. Blondie was featured on a stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service and in a Library of Congress exhibit. The characters are even seen on casino slot machines.
Young said he hopes Blondie can continue for many more years. He said one of his daughters may take over for him some day, but not anytime soon.