|End date||February 1, 1986|
|Syndicate(s)||Universal Press Syndicate (1980–1986)|
In the fall of 1975, at the beginning of his final year as a fine arts student, Tim Downs brought Downstown to Indiana University's paper, the Indiana Daily Student, which immediately began to publish the strip as a daily feature. The strip soon began syndication to other college newspapers. The first college to ever publish Downstown was the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, New York.
For the next five years, Downstown appeared in a variety of campus papers across the United States. During this period, three collections of Downstown were published by the Indiana Daily Student: This is Winning?; With Love, Chuck; and Get in There and Quit.
In the fall of 1979, Universal Press Syndicate agreed to begin syndication of Downstown. Universal felt that a college setting was too narrow for a commercial strip, so Downstown became a strip about singles. The first syndicated Downstown was released on March 24, 1980, in 46 newspapers. The strip appeared as a daily and Sunday feature for the next six years. The strip ended with a week-long going-away party attended by characters from other strips. In the final strip (published February 1, 1986), the main character, John, poked a hole in the bottom of the strip border with a pickaxe and the characters were sucked through the opening.
Another collection was self-published by Downs following the end of the strip, The Laylo Papers: The Complete Guide to Relationships. The book remains in print and available for direct order from Downs.
Characters and story
In the strip, Josh and John were college roommates sharing an off-campus apartment, Fred was a student who directed registration and worked at a local restaurant, and Chuck Laylo was an exceptionally smooth and cool fraternity man—a member of the imaginary Sigma Theta fraternity.
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