They were the favorite part of the morning paper for many of us growing up, when we were introduced to the wacky and sometimes bizarre worlds of the characters inside their three-panel soul. As we grew older and realized there was more to the world than Hagarand Garfield, we discovered deeply compelling stories like Maus and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. World upon barely possible world gets told in frame and boxes, word bubbles and strokes of pen, and the men who make it possible are Cartoonist’s, and Cartoonist’s Day is dedicated to them and their craft.
The History of Cartoonist’s Day
In 1895 a man named Richard F. Outcault introduced a small bald kid in a yellow nightshirt to the world in an incredibly popular publication in the big apple at the time, the New York World. While the paper itself was looked upon with a sort of disdain by ‘real’ journalists of the time, the yellow kid was embraced by people everywhere. Little did Richard know that when he first created this character, it would lead to a revolution in how stories were told and presented in sequential art pieces (That’s comics kids), but would in fact create a new standard piece of content for newspapers everywhere.
The Yellow Kid was an archetype of the world, rather than a character in and of itself. Richard recounted that as he walked the slums of the city on his rounds, he would discover the kid walking out of houses, or sitting and hanging about on doorsteps. The archetypical “kid” was always warm and sunny, friendly, generous, and free of malice and selfishness. How amazing that Richard saw all the good in the world in the worst parts of it, perhaps that’s a lesson in and of itself.
Cartoonists’ day was created to celebrate this man and his accomplishments, and all the good he brought to the world as a result. Everything from our Sunday Comics to animation can be linked back to him and his creation… Just a simple bald kid in a yellow nightshirt.
How to celebrate cartoonists’ day
Cartoonists’ day is best celebrated by picking up a comic you used to know and love, and walking down memory lane on the part it played in you growing up. Online comics are now a thing, and some of them have been running for 12 years or more, like Randy Milhollands Something Positive. Deep characters, compelling storylines, and a rapier wit make it a joy to read, though it’s certainly not for the easily offended. Whether this comic or another one, discovering new worlds to experience through comics is a great way to spend Cartoonists’ day! You could even draw your own!