Comic strips are a sequence of drawings arranged in panels with text balloons to explain the events. They have been traditionally found in every day magazines and newspapers but in the 21st century they are now being found online in the form of web-comics. During the 20th century alone more than 200 strips were published every day in American newspapers. The popularity of the comic strips started as early as the 18th century with the Swiss author and caricature artist Rodolphe Topffer being seen as the man who started off the modern comic strip. He ran a boarding school but entertained his students with his caricatures. In 1837 he published Histoire de M. Vieux Bois which was later published in the United States as The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck. In producing these comic strips he had to combine his skills as an artist, drawing the cartoons himself with being an academic and also a man of creativity and humor.

The Yellow Kid was first published in 1895

The New York World and the New York Journal were seen as being the first papers to features comic strips with the “Yellow Kid” being published from 1895. The creator Richard F. Outcalt was once again responsible for the drawings and the text that he used in word balloons and the humor was aimed at the adult readership. The first comic strip to appear daily in a British newspaper was Teddy Tail who started appearing on the 9th April 1915 in the Daily Mail. He was both drawn and illustrated by Charles Folkard and continued to run until 1974.

This paved the way for many British papers to include their own comic strip. The Daily Herald introduced Bobby Bear in 1920 and the Noah Family appeared in the Daily News also in the 1920’s. However, it was the Daily Express that created a character that would result in ex-Beatle Paul McCartney sing about him in later years. On the 8th November 1920 Mary Tourtel the wife of the paper’s sub-editor Henry Tourtel illustrated a series of comic strips entitled The Little Lost Bear which featured Rupert Bear. In 1935 the work was taken over by Alfred Bestall with the strip being renamed the Adventures of Rupert.

Scotland’s very own Oor Wullie

A British icon was born and later animated cartoons, manuals, songs and even Hollywood films would follow. It all started as a comic strip in a British newspaper. Cartoon strips were also appearing in the Sunday Newspapers. In 1933 Reg Wootton created Sporting Sam whose adventures appeared on the back pages of the Sunday Express for over 30 years. The series covered Sam’s adventures playing a wide variety of sports.

However, a comic strip that has run in a Sunday newspaper for 81 years is Oor Wullie and the Broons which have been running in the Sunday Post since their creation in 1936. The strip covers the everyday adventures of Scottish lad Wullie and his friends. Speaking his own brand of Scottish he has become as famous to Scots as the Edinburgh Castle. His strips include guest appearances from celebrities and in 2006 he was voted as ‘Scotland’s favorite son” beating William Wallace and Sean Connery into second and third places. Comic strip characters have come a long way since their introduction in the early 20th century.