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1735 Feb 27
Dr. John Arbuthnot (b.1667), English physician, satirist and polymath, died. In 1712 he invented the figure of John Bull, a national personification of Great Britain in general and England in particular, especially in political cartoons and similar graphic works.
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1815 Jun 1
James Gillray (b.1757), British caricaturist and printmaker, died. He is famous for his etched political and social satires, mainly published between 1792 and 1810.
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1843
In Britain Punch coined the term “cartoon” to describe its satyrical sketches.
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1895 May
Newspaper cartoonist Richard Felton Outcault introduced a new and "distinctly different" cartoon to the readers of Joseph Pulitzer's New York World. "At the Circus in Hogan's Alley" set the standard for modern newspaper comic strips with a zany cast of recurring characters in boisterous plots printed in a color supplement. Americans loved the cartoon, especially the character Mickey Dugan, the goofy-looking boy described as having big ears, a gap-toothed grin and a long yellow nightshirt. By the summer of 1896, "The Yellow Kid" was so closely identified with Pulitzer's newspaper that the term "yellow journalism" was coined to describe the new style of sensationalistic reporting that characterized the World and many of its competitors.
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1905 Oct 5
Winsor McCay (1871-1934), cartoonist, debuted his “Little Nemo In Slumberland” in the NY Herald. An art book reproducing over 100 of his best pages in full broadsheet was published in 2005.
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1905
Ruben Garrett Lucius Goldberg (1883-1970), anthropologist aka Rube Goldberg, was hired by the San Francisco Chronicle as a sports cartoonist. He became renowned as the comic inventor of complex machines to do simple tasks. In 1948 he received a Pulitzer Prize for his political cartooning.
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1908 Jan 9
Wilhelm Busch (b.1832), German cartoonist and poet, died.
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1908 May 30
Mel Blanc (d.1989), voice of Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, and Porky Pig in Warner Brothers cartoons, was born in San Francisco. When he died he had "That's All Folks" inscribed on his tombstone.
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1913 Jan 20
Jose Guadalupe Posada, Mexican cartoonist, died. He had created Catrina, the Skeleton Lady in her elegant broad-brimmed hat in a satirical engraving sometime between 1910 and his death. Her image grew over the years to symbolize Mexico’s Day of the Dead.
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1913 Oct 28
The "Krazy Kat" comic strip by George Herriman (1880-1944) debuted as a daily comic strip in the New York Evening Journal.
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1918 Dec 19
Robert Ripley (1890-1949) began his "Champs and Chumps" cartoon series in the NY Globe. By 1929 the sports series turned into “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!”
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1919 Jun 17
The "Barney Google" cartoon strip by Billy DeBeck premiered. In 1924 he introduced a horse named spark Plug to the strip.
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1919 Dec 19
The Thimble Theatre cartoon strip, by Elzie Segar (1894-1938) of Chesater, Ill., made its debut in the New York Journal and featured the characters Olive Oyl, Castor Oyl, and Ham Gravy, who were the comic's leads for about a decade. He added Popeye in 1929.
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1919
Movie audiences were introduced to Felix the Cat. Otto Messmer created Felix for an animation studio owned by Pat Sullivan, who licensed the character. A. Schoenhut & Co. of Philadelphia (f.1872) began marketing Felix toys in the 1920s.
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1924
The character Caspar Milquetoast appeared in the comic strip “The Timid Soul” created by H.T. Webster. The term milquetoast became a description for a weak, ineffectual or bland person.
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1927
Walt Disney created the cartoon character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. He was a precursor to Mickey Mouse.
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1928
In Denmark Palle Huld (d.2010) won a competition organized by Danish newspaper that wanted to send a teenager would-be-reporter around the globe. For 44 days the 15-year-old traveled to North America, Japan, Siberia and Germany, and was greeted by 20,000 people upon his return to Copenhagen. Herge, the pen name of Belgian author Georges Remi, heard of Huld's journey which reportedly inspired him to create Tintin, the globe-trotting reporter.
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1929 Jan 17
The first Popeye character appeared in the Thimble Theater cartoon strip by Elzie Segar (1894-1938) of Chesater, Ill.
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1929 Jul 1
US cartoonist Elzie Segar created "Popeye."
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1929 Aug 21
Marie Severin, comic book artist, was born. In the 1950s she worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as it began publishing educational cartoon-style booklets.
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1929
Georges Remi (1907-1983), Belgian author and illustrator, created the cartoon character Tintin under the pseudonym Herge for the children’s supplement, Le Petit Vingtieme. Herge wanted to draw cartoons about the Wild West of America, but his publisher ordered that the new fictional reporter be sent to the soviet Union and then to Belgium’s colony in the Congo.
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1930 Sep 8
Cartoonist Murat "Chic" Young introduced the cartoon strip "Blondie." In 2005 it was written seven days a week by his son, Dean, who took over when his father died in 1973, and artist Denis Lebrun.
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1933
In Cleveland, Ohio, Glenville High School classmates Jerry Siegel (b.1914) and Joe Shuster (b.1914) created the Superman cartoon character.
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1934 Jul 26
Winsor McCay (b.1871), cartoonist, died. His “Little Nemo In Slumberland” was launched by the NY Herald in 1905. An art book reproducing over 100 of his best pages in full broadsheet was published in 2005.
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1934
The Popeye cartoon “We Aim to Please” introduced the catch phrase “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” uttered by J. Wellington Wimpy.
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1937 Apr 17
Cartoon characters Daffy Duck, Elmer J. Fudd and Petunia Pig, debuted.
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1938 Jun 1
Superman made his first appearance in D.C. Comics’ Action Comics Series issue #1. The comic book sold for 10 cents. By 1995 surviving copies sold for over $75,000. Jerry Siegel (b.1914) and Joe Shuster (b.1914) created Superman in 1933. In 2001 Bradford W. Wright authored "Comic Book Nation," a history of comic books. In 2009 a copy of the first Superman comic book sold for 317,200 dollars at an auction.
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1939 May 1
Batman comics hit the street in Detective Comics No. 27. Bob Kane (d.1998 at 83) created Batman for DC Comics. The cartoon hero was based on Zorro, da Vinci’s sketch of a flying man, and a silent mystery movie titled "The Bat."
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1940 May
Batman No. 1, who made his first appearance in 1939 as a character in Detective Comics No. 27, was the first solo spin-off for Batman. The debut included the original appearances by two of Batman's key foes, the Joker and Catwoman.
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1940 Jun 30
"Brenda Starr," a cartoon strip by Dale Messick, a woman, appeared in a Chicago Tribune insert. In Dec, 2010, Tribune Media Services announced that it was ending the feature’s newspaper syndication.
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1940
Fawcett Publications spun off Mary Marvel as a comic character from the Captain Marvel series.
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1941 Mar
Timely Comics, the predecessor of Marvel Comics, introduced the "Captain America” comics.
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1941 Dec 22
The cartoon character Archie Andrews, drawn by Montana and written by Vic Bloom, first appeared in Pep Comics #22. In 2014 Archie Comics said the Archie character will be heroically sacrifice himself in Life with Archie #36.
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1941 Dec
Wonder Woman, a comic book character created by William Moulton Marston (1893-1947) made her debut in All Star Comics #8.
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1941
Plastic Man debuted in US comic books. After an accident at a chemical plant gives Eel O'Brian the ability to stretch and alter his shape, he renounces his criminal past and becomes the longest arm of the law. Green Arrow also appeared in US comic books. The Emerald Archer learns his skills while trapped on a desert island. He later escapes to become a modern Robin Hood.
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1944 Sep 13
Heath Robinson (b.1872), English cartoonist, died. He is best known for drawings of eccentric machines and "Heath Robinson" has entered the language as a description of any unnecessarily complex and implausible contraption.
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1945 Jan 6
Pepe Le Pew, the cartoon skunk created by Chuck Jones and voiced by Mel Blanc, debuted in Odor-Able Kitty.
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1946
Mickey Spillane (1918-2006), comic book writer, authored his first Mike Hammer detective novel, “I, the Jury.”
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1947 May 2
William Moulton Marston (b.1893), American psychologist, inventor and comic book writer, died. He created the character Wonder Woman, who made her debut in All Star Comics #8 in December 1941.
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1949 Mar 6
Robert Storm Petersen (b.1882), Danish cartoonist, writer, animator, illustrator, painter and humorist, died. He is known almost exclusively by his pen name Storm P.
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1949 May 27
Robert Ripley (b.1890), American cartoonist and creator of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not,” died in NYC. In 2013 Neal Thompson authored “A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert “Believe It or Not!” Ripley.”
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1949
France banned children’s books and comic strips from presenting cowardice in a “favorable light,” on pain of up to a year in prison for errant publishers.
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1950 Sep 5
Cathy Guisewite, cartoonist and creator of the “Cathy” cartoon strip, was born in Dayton, Ohio. In 2010 Guisewite said her cartoon strip, begun in 1976, would end on Oct 3.
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1952
Charles M. Schulz copyrighted his Lucy character in the Peanuts cartoon strip.
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1955
New York Gov. Averell Harriman signed legislation that prohibited the distribution of lurid comics, banned their sale to people under the age of 18 and banned such words as “crime,” “terror,” “horror,” and “sex” from comic book titles. In 2008 David Hajdu authored “The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How it Changed America.”
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1956 Jan 13
Lyonel Feininger (b.1871), American-German painter, died. His work included the woodcut "Kreuzende Segelschiffe" (1919) and the pen and ink wash "Three Ghosts" (1953). A catalog of his prints was made by Leona Prasse (1897-1984), late curator of prints at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Feininger published comics for the Chicago Tribune from 1906-1907.
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1956
DC Comics introduced Batwoman with the alter ego Kathy Kane. The character was killed off in 1979. In 2006 DC Comics revived Batwoman as a lesbian.
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1957 Feb 5
Joseph Benson Hardaway (b.1895), animation director and voice actor, died. Nicknamed "Bugs," he was instrumental in naming the character "Bugs Bunny" when, while working on the film short "Hare-um, Scare-um," an animator handed him a model sheet of the rabbit character.
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1957
MGM closed its cartoon studio in a panic over diminishing audiences due to television. William Hanna and Joe Barbera (1911-2006) formed their own company and began making cartoons for TV. The Hanna-Barbera TV cartoon program "Ruff & Reddy" began.
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1958 Feb 17
The comic strip "B.C.", created by Johnny Hart (1931-2007), 1st appeared.
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1959
Albert Uderzo and René Goscinny introduced their comic characters Asterix and Obelix in the magazine Pilote. A book followed in 1961. Comic books in France are known as bandes dessinees (BD).
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1962
Cartoonist Charles Shultz (b.1922) authored “Happiness Is a Warm Puppy.”
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1963 Mar
Spider-Man was introduced by Marvel Comics with 700 copies. It was written by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko. Their character was first introduced in 1962.
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1966 Dec 15
Walt Disney (b.1901), movie producer, actor and director, died in Los Angeles. In 1998 a CD-ROM was produced titled: “Walt Disney: An Intimate History of the Man and His magic.” In 2006 Neal Gabler authored “Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination.”
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1968 Jul 17
Beatle's animated film "Yellow Submarine" premiered in London. The US premiere was on November 13.
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1968 Sep 14
Al Frueh (b.1880), American caricature artist (New Yorker magazine), died.
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1968
Gary Arlington (29) founded America’s first comics store on 23rd St. in San Francisco’s Mission district. The comics sold for 12 cents. Arlington (d.2014) closed his store in 2003 after 35 years in business.
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1969 Sep
Marvel Comics introduced Falcon, the first African-American superhero, in an issue of its Captain America comics. In 2014 Sam “The Falcon” Wilson took over as the new patriotic avenger Captain America.
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1970 Apr 15
Last Gasp’s first publication, Slow Death Funnies #1, came out for the first “Earth Day” (see April 22). Ron Turner founded Last Gasp, a San Francisco publisher of underground comics and graphic novels.
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1970 Oct 26
Gary Trudeau's comic strip "Doonesbury" first appeared. The SF Chronicle began to carry the "Doonesbury" cartoon of Garry Trudeau under editor George Stanleigh Arnold (d.1997 at 78).
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