Robert C. Harvey
Released: March, 1999

Who or what is the Yellow Kid? Created by Richard Outcault in 1895, it was the first American strip to really demonstrate the enormous appeal of comics, prompting intense rivalry between newspapers aware of its power and popularity to attract readerships. This book charts the evolution of the American comic strip from that point on, looking at how the medium was fine tuned over time, with soap opera and adventure strips (Terry and the Pirates, Gasoline Alley) giving way to 'gag-a-day' features (Peanuts, Beetle Bailey) and the increase of satirical and social commentary strips such as Doonsbury and Bloom County. The book itself is beautifully produced and particular care is taken reproducing the strips – even the black and white strips are printed in colour to capture the sketches, notations and alterations not normally visible. Quite a few of the strips are also reproduced at actual size so there's a good opportunity to see how the experts did it. It really is the next best thing to actually owning the strips themselves (a costly prospect!)

As well as the strips mentioned above, you can find over 130 examples of other strips including the excellent and unique Krazy Kat, Mutt and Jeff, Calvin and Hobbes, Dilbert and many more familiar names. If you have even a small interest in this particular medium (you're cartoonists after all!) this is an excellent reference book with interesting essays to accompany each section and complement the artwork. Get it now! has this for £14.83 plus p&p

Tim Harries

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