Little Orphan Annie, later called Annie Warbucks, after she was adopted, is a comic strip character that existed since 1924 until 2010. The comic follows the progressive life, fraught with adventure of Annie.
Annie starts off in an orphanage, living a generally hard life. She frequently tries to impress prospective parents but does not have any luck for many years. Eventually she is adopted by one, Mrs. Warbucks, but, only as a social accessory for the new-money socialite. When Mr. Warbucks meets Annie he takes a liking to her. Though Mrs. Warbucks tries to keep Annie as little more than a cute-looking servant to accompany the couple to parties and public appearances, Mr. Warbucks insists she call him "Daddy Warbucks" and begins showering her with attention. Mrs. Warbucks becomes adversed to the situation and tries to send Annie back to the Orphanage, on more than one occasion or otherwise get Annie out of her life but every time Mr. Warbucks either takes her back, or Annie makes her own way back to the Warbucks estate. Annie would get into miniature adventures coming back from Mrs. Warbucks' exiles and many comics would run for one to five issues just cataloging Annie's time making her way back from kidnappers, through war-zones or out of foreign countries.
The Musicals have cleaned up many of the more fanciful parts of Annie's life. Including exluding Mrs. Warbucks, her school life, her service in war-zones, and her encounters with Nazis and Communists. A similar role to Mrs. Warbucks is kept with an orphanage director Agatha Hannigan - who tells Annie and the other orphans they are never getting adopted and tries to break their spirits. When Mr. Warbucks adopts Annie - similar to Mrs. Warbucks, mainly as a P.R. stunt/status symbol, he quickly finds he actually likes Annie. After some minor sole-searching Mr. Warbucks decides he wants to be a proper father to Annie and formally adopts her. Ms. Hannigan tries to endear herself to Mr. Warbucks but he rejects the flirtatious orphanage director and leaves as soon as he can get a signature from her. The plays/movies see an attmepted kidnapping via Miss Hannigan and her brother - Rooster, an escaped criminal. Annie escapes capture, enraging Rooster, who decides to kill her when she will not cooperate with the ransom. Miss Hannigan, though disliking Annie does not want to see her killed and tries to stop Rooster but is unable. Mr. Warbucks manages to track down Annie and with the aid or Mr. Hannigan to show him exactly where, manages to save Annie from Rooster and is rejoined with her.
Annie is intrepid, humble and empathetic. Writer, Harold Grey, was a no-nonsense Republican and wanted the comic to reflect his politics, as such Annie implicitly trusts her ultra-capitalist adoptive father, fights Communists, questions the importance of federal programs and is wary foreign powers. Annie gets into many adventures on her way back to the Warbucks' mansion when expelled, including dealing then modern pirates, smugglers, kidnappers and general criminals. Most of the one-off criminals she encounters are not initially after her but creating misfortune for others, with Annie unable to turn away once she sees their miss-deeds/overhears their malevolent plans. Annie adopted the street dog - Sandy, before she was adopted herself, trying to treat the dog as she wished adoptive parents would treat her. Though at first Annie tries to shoo the dog away as she does not have a home, once she see it will not leave she decides they should homeless together. After Annie is adopted, Sandy is practically by her side constantly. Annie is good friends with Mr. Warbucks' servants Punjab - his bodyguard/stage magician and The Asp - his driver. Annie learns about other cultures from Punjab and the Asp (both very dated by modern standards), and Grey used both to encourage readers, through Annie, to see non-Americans/Caucasians as people.