National Cartoonist Day Date in the current year: May 5, 2024

National Cartoonist Day National Cartoonist Day is observed annually on May 5. It was created to celebrate the talented, creative, and hard-working visual artists who both write and illustrate cartoons, comic books, and graphic novels.

Cartoonists are artists who create both the graphic and literary components of cartoons, comic strips, or comic books (as opposed to comics artists who only handle the visuals and comics writers/graphic novelists who only write the script).

Early cartoons were political and satirical in nature; they developed in England in the second half of the 18th century. The most influential early political cartoonists were William Hogarth and James Gillray; the latter is often referred to as the “father of the political cartoon”. Political cartoons were originally sold as individual prints in print shops.

The term “cartoon” was coined in 1843 by the British weekly magazine Punch, and the popularity of Punch’s political cartoons led to its widespread use. The first comic strips (cartoon sequences) appeared in American newspapers in the late 19th century, and the first American comic book, Famous Funnies, was published in 1934.

Modern cartoonists may work in many formats, including gag cartoons, editorial (political) cartoons, comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, webcomics, newspapers and magazines, advertisements, booklets, manuals, posters, greeting cards, and more. They can work in a variety of professional settings, including newspapers and magazines, publishing houses, animation studios, advertising agencies, etc.

Some cartoonists are freelancers who work with different employers on a contracted basis or create and promote their own work. For example, the popular webcomic Check, Please! started as Ngozi Ukazu’s passion project, but eventually accumulated such a large and devoted fanbase that First Second Books published the entire story in two volumes.

National Cartoonist Day was launched in the 1990s by the National Cartoonists Society (NCS), a professional organization that unites and represents established professional cartoonists in the United States and advances the standards of the profession. The main goals of the holiday are to promote the support for the professional cartooning industry and highlight the societal impact of cartoons.

National Cartoonist Day is observed on May 5 to commemorate the first appearance (in color) of the Yellow Kid in Joseph Pulitzer’s newspaper New York World on this day in 1895. Created and drawn by Richard F. Outcault, the Yellow Kid became the first commercially successful cartoon character, as well as gave birth to the term “yellow journalism”.

How to observe National Cartoonist Day? You can reread your favorite cartoons, webcomics, comic books and graphic novels, give a shout out to your favorite cartoonists on social media, discover new cartoonists, and spread the word about the holiday with the hashtags #NationalCartoonistDay and #CartoonistDay. If you’re a cartoonist, share your work with the world and help promote the work of your fellow cartoonists.

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National Cartoonist Day, observances in the US, professional days, Yellow Kid, National Cartoonists Society