Some have suggested that the targeting of yellow journals
drove Outcault away from the Hearst's paper, but he left
to rejoin the New York World; its reputation was
no better. Ian Gordon suggests Outcault's reason for leaving
the Kid behind lay more with his commercial interests: "When Outcault realized he could not retain exclusive control
of the Yellow Kid, he abandoned the character and Hearst
but not comic strip characters."1
After quitting McFadden's Flats, Outcault
became editor of the comics page for Hearst's New York
Evening Journal, where he experimented with different
series, including Casey's Corner and The
Huckleberry Volunteers, which prominently featured
racist portrayals of black children. The Kid would pop up
in both series as the leader of the new gang.2 He
finally found a character to profit from with Buster Brown,
the child of wealthy parents who also couldn't help getting
in trouble; the Yellow Kid would make several cameo appearances
with Buster in the comic and even on Buster Brown postcards.
He licensed the character while working for the New York
Herald in 1902.3 Several
competing comic strips had sprung up in the meantime, including
the Katzenjammer Kids (1897), and artist Frederick Burr Opper
more thoroughly developed word balloons with Happy Hooligan from 1900-01.4
1 Gordon 33.
2 Blackbeard, Bill. Introduction. R. F. Outcault's The Yellow Kid: A Centennial Celebration of the Kid Who Started the Comics. Northampton, MA: Kitchen Sink Press, 1995. 116-119.
3 Gordon, Ian. Comic Strips and Consumer Culture, 1890-1945. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998. 37.
4 Gordon 35.