National Cartoonist Day Was Inspired by “The Yellow Kid”
May 5th celebrates National Cartoonist Day, a day to pay tribute to those who make us laugh and think about the world around us in a different way through their cartoons. The day celebrates cartoonists and their unique artwork and is celebrated on May 5th each year in honor of the first appearance of “The Yellow Kid” in the New York World newspaper on May 5, 1895. The holiday first began in the 1990s as a way to support the industry and recognize the impact that cartoonists have on our culture.
The Yellow Kid was an American comic strip character created and drawn by Richard F. Outcault in the comic strip Hogan’s Alley. It was one of the very first Sunday comic strips, that would start a tradition for many families to see what the Sunday Funnies were of the week. Outcault created the character to help wealthy readers feel more sympathetic to those in poverty and perhaps learn to help them.
Outcault once said about his character in 1902, “The Yellow Kid was not an individual but a type. When I used to go about the slums on newspaper assignments I would encounter him often, wandering out of doorways or sitting down on dirty doorsteps. I always loved the Kid. He had a sweet character and a sunny disposition, and was generous to a fault. Malice, envy or selfishness were not traits of his, and he never lost his temper.”
The Yellow Kid paved the way for many famous cartoon characters and cartoonists. Some of the most popular comic strips include Life in Hell (the start for The Simpsons‘ creator Matt Groening), Snoopy and the Peanuts gang by Charles Schulz, Thimble Theatre including Popeye by E.C. Segar, Beetle Bailey by Mort Walker, Garfield by Jim Davis, Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson, and so many more.
What’s your favorite comic strip character?