Richard F. Outcault

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Richard Outcault
Richard Felton Outcault.jpg
Born (1863-01-14)January 14, 1863
Lancaster, Ohio
Died September 25, 1928(1928-09-25) (aged 65)
Flushing, New York
Nationality American
Area(s) Cartoonist
Notable works
The Yellow Kid, Buster Brown

Richard Felton Outcault (January 14, 1863 – September 25, 1928) was an American cartoonist. He was the creator of the series The Yellow Kid and Buster Brown, and he is considered the inventor of the modern comic strip.

Early life[edit]

Born in Lancaster, Ohio, Outcault was 15 years old when he went to Cincinnati and enrolled in the McMicken University’s School of Design where he studied for three years.


After graduation, Outcault was employed by Thomas Edison as a technical illustrator, going to Paris as the official artist for Edison’s traveling exhibit of electric lighting. In 1890, he moved to New York City, where he joined Electrical World (a magazine owned by one of Edison’s friends) and became a regular contributor to Truth magazine, Judge and Life.[1]

Buster Brown
The Yellow Kid

After he signed on with Joseph Pulitzer's New York World, Pulitzer placed Outcault's comics in a color supplement, using a single-panel color cartoon on the front page called Hogan's Alley, depicting an event in a fictional slum. Hogan's Alley debuted May 5, 1895.[2]

In October 1896, Outcault defected to William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal. The result of a lawsuit awarded the title "Hogan's Alley" to the World and "The Yellow Kid" to the Journal.

In 1902, Outcault introduced Buster Brown, a mischievous boy dressed in Little Lord Fauntleroy style, and his dog Tige. The strip and characters were very popular, and Outcault eventually licensed the name for a number of consumer products, notably to the Brown Shoe Company.

At the Herald, Outcault worked alongside fellow comic strip pioneer Winsor McCay (who at that point was mostly working on illustrations and editorial cartoons). A rivalry built up between the two cartoonists, which resulted in Outcault leaving the Herald to return to his previous employer, William Randolph Hearst at The New York Journal.[3] In the Journal, Outcault began experimenting with using multiple panels and speech balloons. Although he was not the first to use either technique, his use of them created the standard by which comics were measured.



Richard F. Outcault died in 1928 in Flushing, New York. He was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.


Outcault was a 2008 Judges' Choice inductee into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame.[4]

Lancaster High School in Lancaster, Ohio (Outcault's birthplace) awards the R.F. Outcault Innovation Award to journalism students annually. Betsy Noll (2011) was the first recipient, Riley Theiss and Ohio State and Harvard Linebacker Luke Roberts were the 2012 recipients, Jeremy Hill was the 2013 recipient, and Connor McCandlish received the honor in 2014.[5]


  1. ^ Wallace, Derek. Virtue vol. 1, no. 14. July 18, 2005.
  2. ^ Horn, Maurice. World Encyclopedia of Comics. Chelsea House, 1976.
  3. ^ Canemaker, John (2005). Winsor McCay: His Life and Art (Revised ed.), p. 74. Abrams Books. ISBN 978-0-8109-5941-5.
  4. ^ Comic-Con: "The 2008 Eisner Awards: Eisner Hall of Fame Nominees Announced"
  5. ^ "The Eye of the Gale". Lancaster High School Journalism. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 

External links[edit]