Here, the presidential candidacy of publisher and Congressman William Randolph Hearst is promoted by cartoon characters from his newspapers, the New York Journal and the San Francisco Examiner.
Hearst was on the left wing of American politics and the Democratic Party in his younger days. He advocated government ownership of railroads and public utilities, a graduated income tax, an eight-hour workday, antitrust legislation, and the rights of labor unions. His presidential candidacy gained momentum in the winter of 1903-1904, so that he had over 200 newspaper endorsements by his 41st birthday in April 1904. However, his views were contrary to the conservative direction of the party that year, his arrogance alienated other politicians, and his morals offended many of William Jennings Bryan’s supporters. Therefore, his personal expenditure of $1.4 million ($28.1 million in 2002 dollars) resulted in less than a third of the delegates needed to win the nomination. At the Democratic National Convention on July 8, 1904, he finished a distant second to the victorious Judge Alton B. Parker of New York, 679-181. The next year, Hearst lost the New York City mayoral race, and in 1906 he was defeated in the New York State gubernatorial contest. He never ran for public office again, but continued to speak out on political issues as he moved to the right wing over the ensuing years.
Carrying the Hearst banner here in the parade of fictional figures is “Mr. E. Z. Mark,” the title character of a comic strip by F. M. Howarth. He is followed by “Happy Hooligan,” the good-hearted hobo created by Frederick Burr Opper. Rudolph Dirks’s “Katzenjammer Kids” appear in the guise of James Swimmerton’s tiger cubs. “The Katzenjammer Kids” debuted in 1897 in the “American Humorist” comic supplement to the Sunday edition of Hearst’s New York Journal. It is often considered the first serial comic strip because every week it used sequential panels (rather than one) into which dialogue was placed in a balloon (rather than under the cartoon) to indicate the speaker. “The Katzenjammer Kids” was based partly on two popular characters, Max and Moritz, by a German artist, Wilhelm Busch, with which Hearst had become familiar while traveling in Germany in his youth. James Swimmerton had drawn bear cubs in cartoons for Hearst’s San Francisco Examiner in the early 1890s. When the comic was switched to the New York Journal in 1896, they were changed to tiger cubs in mimicry of Thomas Nast’s Tammany Tiger. Behind the tiger cubs are characters from “Reggie and the Heavenly Twins,” the creation of Marjorie Organ, one of the first female comic artists in the United States. They are followed by Charles Edward “Bunny” Schultz’s “Foxy Grandpa,” and his two grandsons.