AnnieMore exciting strip reprint news, as we’ve received the official PR on IDW’s upcoming LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE strip reprint series, the first volume of which is due in February, ’08.

Tribune Media Services and IDW Publishing are proud to announce that IDW is the official and exclusive licensee to publish collections of Harold Gray’s classic newspaper strip, Little Orphan Annie.

The series will be released as part of IDW’s The Library of American Comics imprint, edited by Dean Mullaney.

“With Dick Tracy, Terry & the Pirates and Little Orphan Annie, IDW has the crown jewels of the world famous Chicago Tribune comics section, making the California-based company a major player in what has become a new golden age of comic strip reprints.,” says ICv2. Since its first appearance in August 1924, Little Orphan Annie has become a cultural icon—in both her red-headed, blank-eyed appearance, and as the embodiment of American individuality, spunk, and self-reliance. The serious narrative of Little Orphan Annie may surprise readers who only know of the character from the Broadway musical. Harold Gray said of his famous character, “Life to her was deadly serious. She had to be hard to survive, and she meant to survive.”

The stories revolve around the red-headed orphan, her adopted father, Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks, an archetype of the American capitalist, and her constant companion, the lovable mutt, Sandy.

“Harold Gray’s Little Orphan Annie is one of the great American comic strips,” says comics historian Jeet Heer. “With Dickensian imagination and gusto, Gray put his spunky orphan through a world of trouble: she road the rails with tramps and hobos, outwitted tommy-gun wielding gangsters, saved family farms from rapacious bankers, foiled Nazi submarine captains, and helped her adopted father ‘Daddy’ Warbucks in his constant struggles against the enemies of America. With a heart-felt populist spirit, Gray’s comic strip captured the essence of mid-20th century America. We should all be glad to see Annie again in her truest incarnation.”

Gray’s pacing was impeccable, and storylines sometimes ran for more than a year. Each volume will contain several complete storylines, approximately two years per book. The first volume of The Complete Little Orphan Annie will be published February 2008.

Harold Gray was born in 1894 in Kankakee, Illinois, and began his cartooning career as an assistant to SydneySmith, creator of the famously successful strip, The Gumps. Gray wrote and illustrated Little Orphan Annie from 1924 until his death in 1968.