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Exhibition Comic Art: 120 Years of Panels and Pages

Rudolph Dirks (1877–1968), The Katzenjammer Kids Make Merry with Santa Claus, published in New York Journal and Advertiser, December 11, 1898. Serial and Government Publications Division, Library of Congress (004.01.00)

Newspaper Competition

Rudolph Dirks was an illustrator before joining William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal at the beginning of the circulation war between Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World. The Katzenjammer Kids, which debuted December 12, 1897, portrayed the antics of young Hans and Fritz, along with other characters on the receiving end of their mischief. Dirks is credited with enhancing the graphic language of comics by popularizing the use of word balloons, sound words, and motion lines. One of the longest running comic strips, it continues to this day in reprint.