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Biographies of the Stars

Richard Felton Outcault

Richard Felton Outcault was born on January 14, 1863 in Lancaster, Ohio. Having an early talent toward the arts he enrolled at McMicken University in Cincinnati majoring in art. After graduating he moved to New York City and secured work doing cartoons and illustartions for various newspapers as well as Judge and Life magazines.

In 1895 Outcault found himself at Joseph Puliter's "The World" filling it's pages with his drawings. While ther he created a large panel cartoon that became known as "Hogan's Alley". In the strip was a silent street urchin dressed only in a frock upon which was always written some phrase or saying.

At the same time that Outcault's first panels are being published, the newspapers are experimenting with four color inks. Quite a bit of experimentation is required to get proper colors and when an engraver for the World wanted to try a new yellow he chose to spot it in the comig Sunday's paper on the "kid's" frock, and the kid became known as "the Yellow Kid".

The success of the kid raised many earbrows however and one of those brows belonged to rival news publisher William Randolph Hearst of the Journal American. Before successfully launching his own Sunday color suplement, Hearst hired Outcault away from the world at an increased salary late in 1896. Pulitzer fumed over the loss and it was not long before he hired Outcault back from Hearst. Then the same ritual played out again and finally a third time, in which Hearst not only hired away Outcaiult but the World's entire editorial staff! The legal squabbles that ensued led to the creation of the term "Yellow Journalism" centered as it was on the Yellow Kid.

Tired of the legal difficulties and looking for new avenues, Outcault left the Journal in 1901 and created for the New York Herald a forgotten strip called "Poor Li'l Mose" before finally creating the eternally famous "Buster Brown" in 1902.

But once again Hearst would lure him back to the Journal and he would remain there until 1920 when he discontinued the strip to concentrate his efforts on painting. Having owned the rights to Buster Brown, he was an immensely wealthy man and had exhibited his works in several galleries and museums.

Of all cartoonists in history Outcault is recognized as the father of the comic strip. Most certainly his creation of the little kid in the yellow shirt is one of the seminal moments of the comic strips evolution in America, contributing heavily to our culture and entertainment.

The Yellow Kid's first appearance

He died in his home in Flushing, New York on September 25, 1928.

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