Launched by the National Cartoonist Society on May 5, 1999, National Cartoonists Day commemorates the debut of the first color comic strip, Hogan's Alley - drawn and written by Richard Outcault - on May 5, 1895 in New York Sunday World.
We're celebrating by sharing this great, early comic strip drawn and written by a young Max Fleischer, and which appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on December 14, 1903. E.K. Sposher, the intrepid photographer featured in this strip, is attempting to photograph the Williamsburg Bridge which would open a few days after publication, on December 19, 1903.
As Max's son, Richard Fleischer, recounts in Out of the Inkwell: Max Fleischer and the Animation Revolution, it was in 1900 that a then 17-year-old Max was so determined to work at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, which was well known for both its comic strips and editorial cartoons, that he...
... biked his way across the Brooklyn Bridge, found the Eagle's offices, somehow or other got to meet Herbert S. Ardell, the manager of the Art Department and made him a proposition. Max offered to pay the Eagle two dollars a week to just let him sit in the Art Department and watch the artists work.
Impressed, Ardell made a counteroffer: the Eagle would pay Max two dollars a week to deliver papers from a horse drawn wagon and be the Art Department's errand boy. Max quickly accepted, confident that:
"once he got his foot in the door, the rest of him would soon follow."