Wee Pals

Wee Pals
Author(s) Morrie Turner
Website http://www.creators.com/comics/wee-pals.html
Launch date February 15, 1965
Syndicate(s) Lew Little Enterprises
then Register and Tribune Syndicate,
then United Feature Syndicate,
then Creators Syndicate
Genre(s) Humor, Children, Teens, Adults

Wee Pals is a syndicated comic strip about a diverse group of children, created and produced by Morrie Turner. It was the first comic strip syndicated in the United States to have a cast of diverse ethnicity, dubbed the "Rainbow Gang."[1]


When cartoonist Morrie Turner began questioning why there were no minorities in the comic strips, his mentor, Peanuts cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, suggested he create one.[2] Morris' first attempt, Dinky Fellas, featured an all-black cast, but found publication in only one newspaper, the Chicago Defender.[3] Turner integrated the strip, renaming it Wee Pals, and on February 15, 1965, it became the first American syndicated comic strip to have a cast of diverse ethnicity.[4]

Initially syndicated by Lew Little Enterprises,[4] it was then carried by the Register and Tribune Syndicate, before moving to United Feature Syndicate in the 1970s. When it debuted, the strip originally appeared in only five daily newspapers, as many papers refused to run a strip featuring black characters.[5] After the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the number of papers carrying the strip grew either to 60[5] or to more than 100 dailies[6] (sources differ).

As the comic strip's popularity grew, Turner added characters. He included children of more and more ethnicities, as well as a child with a physical disability. He also added a weekly section called "Soul Corner," which profiled notable African Americans from history.[2]

As of 2015, the strip is distributed by Creators Syndicate.[6]


Wee Pals bibliography

Animated series: Kid Power

During the 1972-73 television season, Wee Pals was animated as Kid Power, a series produced by Rankin/Bass with animation done in Japan at Topcraft. It aired in the USA on ABC television on Saturday mornings. All of Turner's characters were featured, united through the coalition the characters dubbed "Rainbow Power." A total of 17 episodes were made, most of which aired from September 16, 1972, to January 6, 1973, followed by reruns. In the following year, a few new episodes which were unfinished during the first season aired on Sunday mornings (combined with reruns) until September 1, 1974.



Wee Pals on the Go

During the same 1972–73 television season, Wee Pals on the Go was aired by KGO-TV, the ABC owned-and-operated station in the San Francisco Bay Area. This live-action Sunday morning show featured child actors who portrayed the main characters of Turner's comic strip, Nipper, Randy, Sybil, Connie and Oliver.


  1. "Wee Pals" at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Accessed January 27, 2014. Archived from the original on January 12, 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 Ross, Martha (January 27, 2014). "Morrie Turner: Pioneering 'Wee Pals' cartoonist, dies at 90". Contra Costa Times. Contra Costa County, California. Archived from the original on March 6, 2014.
  3. Hamlin, Jesse (September 13, 2009). "Wee Pals retrospective at S.F. library". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on June 10, 2014.
  4. 1 2 Cavna, Michael (January 31, 2014). "RIP, Morrie Turner: Cartoonists say farewell to a friend, a hero, a 'Wee Pals' pioneer". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on April 19, 2015.
  5. 1 2 Jones, Steven Loring. "From 'Under Cork' to Overcoming: Black Images in the Comics," Ethnic Images in the Comics (The Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, 1986), p. 27.
  6. 1 2 "About Morrie Turner". Creators Syndicate. Archived from the original on May 12, 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2014. Within three months of King's death, the strip was appearing in over 100 newspapers nationwide.

Further reading

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