Marjorie Henderson Buell's Little Lulu (real name Lulu Moppet) was a comic strip that debuted in The Saturday Evening Post in 1935, starting out as a modest back-page filler. Rising to prominence over the next two decades, Lulu would eventually become one of the most successful Little Girl franchises in the history of the medium, rivaling Little Iodine's popularity in newsprint and branching out into comic books, animation and various forms of advertising.
As with its two precursors - Little Iodine and Nancy - the series’ humor was based largely on generational conflicts, positing Lulu as a naively destructive child whose simple presence wreaks chaos in the lives of every adult around her. Like Iodine, Lulu was never intentionally disruptive, yet tended to have a devastating effect on her immediate surroundings (an almost universal characteristic of many later Little Girl strips).
The key to the Lulu formula was the classic ‘slow burn’ – placing the girl in the proximity of an unsuspecting adult (teacher, sales clerk, policeman, etc) who is then gradually reduced to a quivering wreck. Although spanking scenarios were not immediately apparent in the early years, punitive action was unavoidable once the strip hit its stride in the later 30s. Punishment was usually dispensed after the resident authority figure had been pushed beyond all forbearance, leading to a satisfyingly painful conclusion for all concerned.
In 1956, Little Lulu was produced into a black and white animated cartoon. In 1977, it was made into an anime. In 1995, an additional remake was produced. Most of the episodes pre 1990 would finish with Lulu being spanked. See also spanking in anime.