The fact that out of the first ten issues of Tip Topper Comics no less than seven feature Fritzi Ritz in a bathing suit suggest I might not have been the only one to find the character oddly appealing. Artist Ernie Bushmiller understood the pin-up
like poses charmed male readers, and once pulled in this could help to set up numerous gags with Fritzi’s boyfriend Phil Fumble.
As a trivial aside, the term “topper” was newspaper parlance for sharing an entire Sunday comics page with a second, smaller strip. The practice allowed newspaper editors to claim more comic strips without adding more pages (or added flexibility to removing the topper for ad space). It also gave artists opportunity to try out new characters that could eventually spin-off into their own featured main strips.
Tip Topper Comics was a Fritzi Ritz newspaper strip reprint vehicle for United Features that ran between 1949 and 1954. The Tip Topper title continued from self-titled Fritzi Ritz starting with issue #7 and would return back to that name with issue #27. Up to this time the comic book covers were done by Bushmiller. The post comic code era Fritzi Ritz title continued to run with St. John to #37 before being carried on by Dell to #56.
It is said Bushmiller’s Fritzi was modeled after Abby Bohnet, his fiancé when he took over the strip from creator Larry Whittington in 1925. Like other pretty gals of the era such as Blondie and Boots and her Buddies, Fritzi had her start as a flapper girl way back in 1922.
Another United Features publication Tip Top Comics ran from 1936 to 1954. That series alternated Fritzi Ritz with its other newspaper strip properties such as Tarzan. Fritzi Ritz first appeared on the cover of that title (with niece Nancy) January 1941 on issue #57. Wildly popular, Fritzi and her niece Nancy appeared in a large number of different comic titles, including: