The Art of the Funnies: An Aesthetic History

By Robert C. Harvey | Go to book overview
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Roy L. McCardell, "Opper, Outcault and Company," Everybody's Magazine, June 1905, p. 765. Most histories of American journalism recognize in the Yellow Kid the origins of the term "yellow journalism." McCardell adds to this general knowledge the language people used in discussing the circulation battle--"the Yellow Kid journals," "yellow journals." "And so," McCardell continues, "from Mr. Outcault's creation has come the term 'yellow journalism,' with all that it implies of good and evil." McCardell was, himself, one of those watching from the sidelines, but he was scarcely a disinterested bystander. He had been on the World staff in the early 1890s, and later, as a member of the Puck staff, he had recommended Outcault to Goddard when the latter asked him if he knew of any comic artists whom he might hire to produce a weekly comic "magazine" like Puck and Judge as a Sunday supplement. Moreover, McCardell claims that the idea of the weekly colored comic supplement was his own: "In 1891, the present writer, then on the World's staff, suggested to Ballard Smith, the managing editor, that as the American public worried mostly about being amused, it might be well to try the effect on them of a comic colored supplement to the Sunday paper; but it was not until three years later that a color press was produced that would print and register properly" (p. 763). Presumably, McCardell watched the battle for readers with almost parental pride. Incidentally, he notes that the Yellow Kid had a name-Mickey Dugan (p. 764).
Edwin Emery, The Press in America: An Interpretive History of the Mass Media, 3d ed. ( Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1972), p. 443.
Stephen Becker, Comic Art in America ( New York: Simon and Schuster, 1959), p. 13.
Tappan W. King, "The Image in Motion," Crimmer's, Winter 1975, p. 15.
Kressy's letter offering this explanation for the irregularity is printed in Dave Holland, From Out of the Past: A Pictorial History of the Lone Ranger (Granada Hills, Calif.: Holland House, 1988), p. 163.
The following works were also consulted:
Craven, Thomas. Cartoon Cavalcade. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1943.
Robinson, Jerry. The Comics: An Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1974.
Waugh, Coulton. The Comics. New York: Macmillan, 1947.

All dates and biographical facts have been drawn from John Canemaker Winsor McCay: His Life and Art New York: Abbeville Press, 1987).
Ibid. p. 82.
Ibid.: p. 85.
Ibid., p. 212.
M. Thomas Inge, Comics as Culture ( Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1990), p. 33.
Quoted in Canemaker, Winsor McCay, p. 211.
Ibid., p. 139.
Ibid., p. 156. The Sinking of the Lusitania was McCay's other early masterpiece: "a monumental work," Canemaker calls it, even if it did not revolutionize the medium.


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