Long-running newspaper comic strip, created by Milton Caniff in 1947. Caniff began working on "Steve Canyon" because he felt he was not being paid enough by the Chicago Tribune Syndicate for his hugely popular "Terry and the Pirates" strip. After securing a deal he was happy with at the Field Enterprises Syndicate, Caniff announced "Steve Canyon". Due to the colossal success of "Terry and the Pirates", "Steve Canyon" was eagerly snapped up by newspaper editors even before they saw any samples of the strip.

The strip itself was an adventure serial following the exploits of -- surprise, surprise -- Steve Canyon, a former pilot in World War II now running an aviation company called Horizons Unlimited. He traveled all over the world on adventures with his fellow pilots, who were soon phased out of the strip to focus more on Canyon. Some of the supporting cast included Happy Easter and Quiz Brennan -- both sidekicks -- and Copper Calhoun, an occasional villain who was as dangerous as she was beautiful.

An ongoing problem with the strip was that Caniff had trouble moving out of the pro-military, patriotic mood that characterized the 1940s and '50s. During the Vietnam War, Canyon re-enlisted in the military -- he'd done the same thing during the Korean War to favorable reactions. This time, however, the rising anti-war sentiment in America caused a backlash that caused some papers to cancel the strip before Caniff got Canyon back into civilian life.

As more time passed, Caniff's storytelling abilities stayed strong, but his art suffered, both because of advancing age and because the amount of space allotted for comics in newspapers was shrinking. By the 1980s, much of the artwork for the strip was being handled by an assistant named Richard Rockwell.

When Caniff died in 1988, Rockwell finished up the last storyarc Caniff had started and, on June 4th of that year, drew one final tribute to his boss. On June 5th, a Sunday, the space usually occupied by "Steve Canyon" was taken up by a large cartoon of Willie and Joe, Bill Mauldin's classic WWII characters, signed by several dozen other cartoonists. After that, "Steve Canyon" was not published in newspapers again.

A "Steve Canyon" television series starring Dean Fredericks ran in 1958-60, and a few Steve Canyon novels were published by Grossett and Dunlap in the 1950s. Reprints of the strip are occasionally published by Kitchen Sink Press.

Research from http://www.toonopedia.com/canyon.htm

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