Dale Messick, creator of the Brenda Starr comic series, made history as the first woman newspaper cartoonist to achieve syndication. Messick created Brenda Starr, the famous red-headed reporter, in 1940 and drew the dazzling main character and hot shot newspaper reporter for over four decades.
Originally named Dahlia, Messick changed her name to Dale after experiencing discrimination against women seeking to enter into the newspaper cartooning business, a predominantly male dominated profession. Not only was Messick a successful female cartoonist, Brenda Starr was one of the most popular newspaper comic strips and appeared in 250 papers at the height of its success.
Messick drew her Brenda Starr comic series for 40 years and retired in 1980 after turning the strip over to Ramon Fradon and Linda Sutter. Awarded multiple honors for her work, including a Reuben Award in 1975 and the prestigious Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. Messick died on April 5, 2005 at the age of 98.