December 09, 2010 at 10:50 PM EST

Image Credit: Everett CollectionThe worst thing to happen to journalists since the recession has officially happened: Ace reporter Brenda Starr — and thus, the Brenda Starr comic strip — is hanging up her hat, not long after two other comic heroines (Annie and Cathy) also retired. The strip, created by Dale Messick, will take its final bow Jan. 2, more than 70 years after it first debuted. And though, admittedly, Brenda Starr was always a comic I grazed past while making my way to One Big Happy or Zits, I’ll still contend that its mere presence will be greatly missed. (And that her strip subliminally convinced me to become a journalist. Her fashion! My sweatpants!) Because, you see, the funnies page is a little like Jenga: Remove one piece, and the whole thing will never look quite the same. Heck, can you imagine how empty you’d feel seeing a newspaper without Doonesbury or Family Circus? (And that’s coming from someone who hates the Bil Keane strip more than Garfield hates Mondays.)

It’s especially sad to see Brenda Starr go, considering how much she’s accomplished in pop culture. Syndicated in over 250 newspapers in the 1950s, Brenda Starr even inspired a late-’80s movie starring Brooke Shields as the fabulous (snaps!) journalist. Sure, the film was no instant-classic — EW’s own Owen Gleiberman gave the film an F, calling it “one of the worst movies ever made” — but being the basis of the worst movie about journalism ever made is a distinction nonetheless, right?

So, let’s salute the fiery legend that is Ms. Starr, even if we spent the majority of our childhoods skipping her in order to get to The Far Side. What’s your favorite Brenda Starr memory, PopWatchers?

Read more:

‘Brenda Starr’ EW review

21 Worst Comic Book Movies

AACK! ‘Cathy’ comic ending this October: Will you miss her?

No more ‘Annie’ comic strip. Punjab, help!

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