The Yellow Kid Visits ‘Blarney Kassel’
Richard Felton Outcault created Hogan’s Alley, considered to be the first commercially successful newspaper comic strip. As its main character it featured Mickey Dugan, AKA The Yellow Kid.
In addition to being funny, the comic strip gives us a unique look into the lives of the New York working class (Irish in this case) of the late 1890’s. Ordinary events like the installation of new gas pipes on 5th Avenue, a Brooklyn trolley party Mother Gooses’ Vaudville Co. LTD, or a visiting Chinese politician are captured by Outcault with funny asides and lots of contemporary references.
In the Around the world with the Yellow Kid series he visits London and takes the piss out of Punch Magazine, Royalty and the ‘Irish question’. In Paris at the Louvre, it’s Yvette Guilbert of Moulin Rouge fame and the Belle Époque stars. I’m pretty sure I missed half of them myself.
The Ohio State University Cartoon Research Library have a terrific digital album available for online viewing. The eighty-eight tear sheets it contains are from the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection. Ohio State University also host the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum blog which led me to this find.
Happy Saint Paddy’s Day and no fighting!