The R. F. Outcault Reader - vol. 7 no. 2

The Yellow Kid

The Yellow Kid


The Yellow Kid magazine was first published 20 March 1897. Publication continued on a bi-weekly basis for the duration of nine issues using that title until the name changed to The Yellow Book with the tenth issue and publication switched to a monthly basis. The magazine was an obvious attempt to capitalize on the success of the Yellow Kid in the Sunday comic pages, and featured original art by R. F. Outcault on each of the first six covers. Although the discovery at Syracuse University a few years ago of eleven additional covers by R. F. Outcault suggests that he expected his association with the magazine to last longer than it did, we now know that it was terminated after the first six issues. It was published by Howard, Ainslee and Company. Joe Kerr was the Editor; a single issue sold for five cents; a year's subscription was one dollar! The 48-page magazine and cover was printed by H. A. Thomas and Wylie, Litho Company in New York. I have been told that Street and Smith frequently created fictional publishers for their experimental publications if they didn't want their name associated with the publication in case of failure, and this may well be what happened in this case.

The Yellow Kid appeared on each of the first six covers, the common back cover used on all six of these issues advertising The New York Journal, and in a small drawing showing the Yellow Kid in the middle of a dance line at the top of the page of jokes in each issue; the latter is reproduced at the top of this page. The publication information for the complete nine issues of The Yellow Kid magazine is as follows:


Volume 1, Number 1
Volume 1, Number 2
Volume 1, Number 3
Volume 1, Number 4
Volume 1, Number 5
Volume 1, Number 6
Volume 1, Number 7
Volume 1, Number 8
Volume 1, Number 9
20 March 1897
 3 April 1897
17 April 1897
 8 May 1897
22 May 1897
 5 June 1897
19 June 1897
 3 July 1897
17 July 1897

These covers are presented on the next ninepages respectively, and the issue concludes with a copy of the common back cover on the last page. It took Bob Cook many years to complete this collection of all nine issues, and today I believe it is the only set known to exist in the hobby. I can assure you that the set has a special place in my Yellow Kid collection, and we will try to find a good home when the time comes to pass it on!


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Richard D. Olson, Ph.D., 40 Infinity Drive, Poplarville, MS 39470-9006
(769) 717-4077

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