King Features Syndicate

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Promotional flayer 1963
Promotional flayer 1966
Promotional flayer 1966 (inside)
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King Features Syndicate, a print syndication company owned by The Hearst Corporation, distributes about 150 comic strips, newspaper columns, editorial cartoons, puzzles and game to nearly 5000 newspapers around the world. King Features Syndicate is a unit of Hearst Holdings, Inc., which combines the Hearst Corporation's cable network partnerships, television programming and distribution activities and syndication companies. King Features' affiliate syndicates are North America Syndicate and Cowles Syndicate. Each week, Reed Brennan Media Associates, a unit of the Hearst Corporation, edits and distributes more than 200 features for King Features.Reed Brennan Media Associates

History

William Randolph Hearst's newspapers began syndicating material in 1895 after receiving requests from other newspapers. In 1914, Hearst and his manager Moses Koenigsberg consolidated all of Hearst's syndication enterprises under one banner. Koenigsberg gave it his own name (koenig=king) when he launched King Features Syndicate. Production escalated in 1916 with King Features buying and selling its own staff-created feature material. A trade publication, Circulation, was published by King Features between 1916 and 1933. Syndication peaked in the mid-1930s with 130 syndicates offering 1,600 features to more than 13,700 newspapers.

In 2007, King Features donated its collection of comic strip proof sheets (two sets of over 60 years accumulation) to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum and the Michigan State University Comic Art Collection while retaining the collection in electronic form for reference purposes.

Animation, comic books and licensing

Many King characters have been adapted to animation, both theatrical and television cartoons. Strips from King Features are often reprinted by comic book publishers. In 1967, King Features made an effort to publish comic books of its own by establishing the publishing company King Comics. This short-lived comic book line showcased King's best-known characters in seven titles: Beetle Bailey, Blondie, Flash Gordon, Jungle Jim, Mandrake the Magician, The Phantom and Popeye. The comics imprint existed for a year-and-a-half, with titles cover-dated from August 1966 to December 1967. When it ended, the books were picked up and continued by Gold Key Comics, Harvey Comics and Charlton Comics.

King's DailyINK online

Confronted by newspaper cutbacks, King Features has explored new venues, such as placing comic strips on mobile phones. In 2006, it launched DailyINK, an online service which bills subscribers $15 annually. A subscription shows up as a charge from Reed Brennan Media Associates, the online merchant for DailyINK. On a web page and via email, the DailyINK service makes available more than 90 vintage and current comic strips, puzzles and editorial cartoons.DailyINK The vintage strips have included, among others, Bringing Up Father, Buz Sawyer, Flash Gordon, The Phantom and Rip Kirby.