The landmark collection of American cartoonist Richard Felton Outcault considered by historians as the father of the American comic strip makes its auction debut Feb. 24 at Heritage Auctions
. Eight pieces of rare original art from Outcault's work on Buster Brown and The Yellow Kid are estimated to sell between $8,000 and $20,000 each.
The artworks date from 1903 to 1917 and are consigned by Outcault's own family, who has held the items since the artist's passing in 1928. The Yellow Kid's influence was so important it is responsible for the creation of the phrase "yellow journalism" and singlehandedly boosted the circulation of the papers that carried the strip. Buster Brown was the first nationwide comic strip hit that was merchandised nationally and it was said that "Buster's personality became the idol for America's childhood."
"Outcault was among the first to use sequential panels and word balloons to tell a story the standard convention now used across all comics," said Barry Sandoval, Director of Operations for Comics and Comic Art at Heritage Auctions. "It's rare to see even two pieces of Outcault art offered at once, and eight at once is unheard-of."
Outcault's original artwork for a full Buster Brown Sunday comic strip, nearly two feet high, was originally published in the New York Herald circa 1906-1910 (est. $20,000). A classic Buster Brown Sunday comic strip, dated Oct. 29, 1916, features Buster and his canine companion "Tige" in classic Outcault form (est. $15,000). Outcault regularly inserted instructive lessons or principles in his strips, though they were a bit tongue-in-cheek given the mischief his characters caused.
Outcault's Calendar Postcard Original Art, circa 1912, is only the second piece of original Yellow Kid art ever offered at Heritage Auctions (est. $8,000).
The Richard F. Outcault Collection of original art will appear in Heritage Auctions' Comics & Comic Art Auction Feb. 24 in Dallas. For more information, visit HA.com/comics.