The Yellow Kid Biography

The Yellow Kid was the creation of Richard Felton Outcault and is considered the first American comic strip character to be a popular star. The character first appeared in Truth magazine in 1894. By 1895 Outcault had a steady gig at the New York World newspaper, drawing a strip called "Hogan's Alley." One of the many characters was Mickey Dugan, a bald, big-eared youth in an oversized nightshirt. In color editions, the nightshirt was yellow, and within a few months readers were clamoring for more of The Yellow Kid. Outcault was hired away from the World in 1896 to work at William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal. For a time The Yellow Kid appeared in both newspapers, in Hogan's Alley at the World (drawn by George B. Luks) and in McFadden's Row of Flats (by Outcault) in the Journal. The Yellow Kid was the first comic strip character to have a line of merchandise, including gum, cigarettes and toys. By 1899 the popularity of the Kid waned as Outcault focused on another character (Buster Brown) and new comic strips and characters caught the public eye.

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The newspapers that carried The Yellow Kid were sometimes called "yellow papers," and their reputation for sensational reports (of questionable veracity) led to the term "yellow journalism."

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