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Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Who is this 'Yellow Kid' anyway?

Stars and Stripes (newspaper) 1945
Image Source: commons.wikipedia.org

Having already focused This Day in History on the Stars and Stripes newspaper, it is absolutely no wonder the comics came to mind. After all, what is a newspaper without the comics? How many times have you picked up a paper only to check for the section and page location for the comics, completely thumbing past any news or editorials?

Stars and Stripes Sunday Comics
Early precursors of print comics have been around for eons, as early as 113 A.D. Narratives were told through sequential pictures, i.e., Egyptian hieroglyphs, Greek friezes, medieval tapestries such as the Bayeux Tapestry and illustrated manuscripts, which combined sequential images and words to tell a story. These, of course, were not accessible by just anyone. They were not in print. It was the invention of the printing press that put words and pictures literally into human hands.

Of course, the form of the comic strip begins with The Glasgow Looking Glass, published in 1826 and evolves from there in different forms all around the world. In 1845, the satirical drawings, which regularly appeared in newspapers and magazines, gained a name: cartoons

The First Newspaper Comic Strip Character
Have you ever wondered who was the first newspaper comic strip character in the United States? R.F. Outcault's work in combining speech balloons and images on Hogan's Alley and The Yellow Kid has been credited as establishing the form and conventions of the comic strip.
Who is this Yellow Kid anyway?

The Yellow Kid
Image Source:
The Yellow Kid's head was drawn wholly shaved as if having been recently ridden of lice, a common sight among children in New York's tenement ghettos at the time. His nightshirt, a hand-me-down from an older sister, was white or pale blue in the first color strips.
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.
-Richard F. Outcault, from a 1902 interview (Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Long live the comics! Of course, the continuance of the comics depends upon whether the newspaper survives within this digital age. You can read them in e-versions but there is something nostalgic about holding a page of comics in your hands!

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