How we got to where we are.
The New York World, owned by Joseph Pulitzer, begins publishing a series of comics by Richard Outcault taking place in Hogan's Alley, and featuring a boy in a yellow nightshirt who becomes known as "The Yellow Kid." The Yellow Kid becomes very popular in New York City, and, in 1897, William Hearst's New York Journal hires Oucault to draw the cartoon for them instead. Pulitzer responds by hiring George Luks to draw his own version of The Yellow Kid. This sparks a new practice called "yellow journalism". According to Wikipedia yellow journalism, or the yellow press, is a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers. Both strips end in 1898. This is credited as being one of the first big comic strips.
Rudolph Dirks’s The Katzenjammer Kids appears for the first time in the New York Journal on December 12. It stars a set of twin brothers, Hans and Fritz, and is the first strip to tell a story in a series of panels. It is still running today, as the oldest strip in print syndication. Print syndication distributes news articles, columns, comic strips and other features to newspapers, magazines and websites. They offer reprint rights and grant permissions to other parties for republishing content of which they own/represent copyrights.
Mutt and Jeff becomes the first successful daily comic strip. Originally known as A. Mutt, Jeff joins the cast the following year. In addition to being a newspaper strip, it gets made into a series of animated films starting in 1913. The strip continues to be published through 1982.
Frank King's Gasoline Alley begins. It is the first strip ever to have characters who age in real time. Characters go to war, marry, have children, and so on. The strip is still running today.
Harold Gray begins Little Orphan Annie, a tale of rags to riches... to rags, to riches, and back again, as the orphan and millionaire Daddy Warbucks find each other and part over and over. Annie also finds success as a radio show, a Broadway musical, and a movie. First comic strip to hit the big screen
Chic Young begins Blondie. She marries Dagwood in 1933. In an unprecedented set of crossovers in 2005, dozens of comic strips join in celebrating its 75 years in print.
Funnies on Parade, a collection of reprinted newspaper comic strips, is given away as an advertising promotion. It is the first to be printed in what becomes the standard size for modern comic books: 5.5″ × 8″. It’s followed by Famous Funnies, a similar collection sold for ten cents.
The first issue of Detective Comics is released by the company that will eventually be named DC Comics. (DC is an abbreviation for "Detective Comics.")
Action Comics makes its first appearance, and features the first superhero ever: Superman. He can run faster than a train, leap over tall buildings, and block bullets with his chest, but isn't yet able to fly. The character is a hit, and many more superhero comics follow.
"The Bat-Man" makes his first appearance in Detective Comics. Unlike Superman, Batman has no powers; he fights crime using martial arts, technology, and his mind. Timely Comics releases Marvel Comics, including Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner and several other heroes. Timely will eventually be renamed Marvel. DC also introduces The Flash, a superhero who can run faster than the speed of light.
1940 ~ DC presents Alan Scott, who makes a ring that allows him to use the light of the Green Lantern.
1941 ~ In what will become the Marvel universe, Steve Rogers is given super-soldier serum and a mighty shield, becoming Captain America.DC introduces Wonder Woman, designed by psychiatrist William Marston to embody female ideals of heroism.
Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts, the most profitable comic strip of all time, begins its 50-year run. He'd wanted to name it Li'l Folks, but the United Feature syndicate changed its name over Schulz's objections. Spinoffs of the comic, which features Charlie Brown and Snoopy, will include many animated TV specials and a Broadway musical, not to mention every imaginable merchandising tie-in. The strip ends the day Schulz dies, but newspapers continue to reprint the older installments.
Marvel adds another two superheroes: Spider-Man and The Hulk. Bitten by a radioactive spider, Peter Parker gains the proportionate strength of a spider, and designs his own webshooters. He soon learns that with great power comes great responsibility. Dr. Banner, belted by gamma rays, turns into the Hulk, a giant green monster with matching purple pants.
Garfield begins his long nap in the nation's newspapers. The strip becomes one of the most widely syndicated—and merchandised—of all time. Garfield is a comic strip created by Jim Davis. Published since June 19, 1978, it chronicles the life of the title character, the cat Garfield (named after Jim Davis's grandfather); his owner Jon, and Jon's dog, Odie. As of 2013, it was syndicated in roughly 2,580 newspapers and journals, and held the Guinness World Record for being the world's most widely syndicated comic strip. Originally created with the intentions to "come up with a good, marketable character", Garfield has spawned merchandise earning $750 million to $1 billion annually. In addition to the various merchandise and commercial tie-ins, the strip has spawned several animated television specials, two animated television series, two full feature-length live-action films and three CGI animated movies. Common themes in the strip include Garfield's laziness, obsessive eating, and hatred of Mondays and diets.