NEWSPAPER ADVENTURES CONSIGNED BY CREATOR RICHARD F. OUTCAULT’S FAMILY
By 1902, Richard F. Outcault was a superstar of newspaper comic strips. The Yellow Kid was the breakout character of his Hogan’s Alley cartoon, which appeared in Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World in 1895.
The artist’s work laid the foundation for the modern newspaper comic strip. “Outcault was among the first to use sequential panels and word balloons to tell a story – the standard convention now used across all comics,” says Barry Sandoval, director of operations for comics and comic art at Heritage Auctions.
In 1902, Outcault created the groundbreaking Buster Brown comic strip, whose lead character also served as the mascot of the Brown Shoe Company.
“Buster and his dog Tige were always getting into trouble, maybe breaking a window with his slingshot or playing pranks on neighbors,” Sandoval says. “Imagine Calvin and Hobbes, only with Hobbes biting people and Calvin dressed up as Little Lord Fauntleroy.”
Over the years, fans would see comic books, a play, live-action movies, radio shows, advertisements, and a television show based on the mischievous boy (with Jerry Maren, who played one of the Lollipop Kids in The Wizard of Oz, in the role of Buster).
Four Buster Brown originals from Outcault’s hand, consigned by the artist’s family, are being offered in Heritage’s Aug. 10-11 comics and comic art auction in Dallas.
“One of the four pieces in the auction is dated May 31, 1903,” Sandoval says, “just a year after the comic first appeared in The New York Herald. It’s rare to see such early pieces on the market.”