Theater and and eventually vaudeville were strong influences on the development of cartooning as a whole. Comic historians Bill Blackbeard and Martin Williams explain that British comic papers were derived from conventions of circus clowning and music hall-vaudeville sketches (see Punch cover at left).1 The cartoons that appeared in magazines like Life and Puck maintain a narrative and slapstick quality that appears contextually aligned with stage productions. As M. Thomas Inge wrote "The comic strip draws on many conventions associated with the theatre, such as dialogue, dramatic gesture, background or scene, compressed time, a view of the action framed by a rectangular structure, and a reliance on props and various stage devices."2 Both would also heavily draw from the comedy of real life—which in American cities derived from living conditions, work, class tensions, and ethnic diversity. In a more direct relation to the Yellow Kid's formation, Comic Historian Ian Gordon points out that the name for Outcault's first Yellow Kid series, "Hogan's Alley," likely has its origins in vaudeville. Singer Maggie Cline sung "When Hogan Pays the Rent" in Tony Pastor's popular vaudeville venue in 1891, and in a later Irish-themed play, O'Reilly and the Four Hundred, a song called
"Maggie Murphy's Home" begins with the line "Down in Hogan's Alley." Outcault first used the phrase "Hogan's Alley" in the cartoon
"Feudal Pride in Hogan's Alley,"
which appeared in the June 2, 1894 issue of Truth.3
1 Blackbeard, Bill, and Martin Williams. The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press and Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1977. 11.
2 Inge, THomas M. Comics as Culture. Jackson and London: U. Press of Mississippi, 1990. 5.
3 Gordon, Ian. Comic Strips and Consumer Culture, 1890-1945. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998: 25.