Apr 14 201676 The Yellow Kid

Nowadays, comic books are mainstream. Movies about superheroes dominate the box office, and you can’t go ten feet in a major retail outlet without seeing something related to popular comics culture. This is not new. Comics and comic books have always been an integral part of American popular culture ever since the 1890s, with the introduction of the Yellow Kid, America’s first popular comics character.

The Yellow Kid (created by former Edison employee R.F. Outcault) sported a shaved head (a common deterrent for lice) and a ragged, hand-me-down nightshirt as his only garment. He eventually became a star in 1890s New York City, and his distinctive image could be found on everything from cigar boxes to cookie tins. Eventually the Kid led to a fight between newspaper magnates Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, who each tried to woo the public with their own distinct and competing versions of the popular comics character.