Martin Branner is most famous for his newspaper comic 'Winnie Winkle', which was first published in 1920. Coming from New York, Branner was a Vaudeville star who became a cartoonist after his military service in World War I, although he had previously done some advertisement illustrations for Variety magazine. He started out doing the shortlived 'Louie the Lawyer' for the Bell Syndicate in 1919. He then did an equally shortlived Sunday page called 'Pete and Pinto' for the New York Herald and the New York Sun, before being hired by the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate. In September 1920, the first episodes of Branner's 'Winnie Winkle the Breadwinner' were published.

Winnie Winkle the breadwinner

'Winnie Winkle', what became the feature's title shortly after its start, is quite special. For the first time in comic history, it featured a working girl as protagonist. But Winnie also grew up in the comic. When the strip started, she was a little girl, but in time she got married, had a baby, and eventually widowed during World War II. She even had a career.

Her little brother, Perry, accompanied by his gang of Rinkydinks became the leading star in the Sunday page which started in 1923. Perry and the Rinkydinks caught on in Holland under the name 'Sjors van de Rebellenclub', written and drawn by Frans Piët. In 1962 Branner retired after having a stroke and his assistant Max Van Bibber took over 'Winnie Winkle' until 1980. The strip ran until 1996 and was one of the longest-running comics around.

Winnie Winkle in 1966

Last updated: 2014-08-19

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