National Cartoonist Day (May 5th), History, Activities, and Why We Love It


Learn about the history of National Cartoonist Day, discover fun activities to celebrate, and explore why people love and appreciate the art of cartooning. From creating your own cartoons to visiting a cartoon museum, there are many ways to honor the creativity, humor, and artistry of cartoonists on this special day.

National Cartoonist Day is a holiday observed in the United States on May 5th of every year. It is a day to recognize and celebrate the art and craft of cartooning, and the contributions that cartoonists make to our culture and society. The day was created to honor the work of cartoonists, who use their creativity and skill to create humorous or thought-provoking illustrations and stories that entertain and inform people of all ages. The holiday is celebrated by fans of cartoons and comics, as well as by professionals in the industry, who use the day to showcase their work and promote the art form to a wider audience.

History of National Cartoonist Day

The history of National Cartoonist Day dates back to 1995 when the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) declared May 5th as a day to celebrate the art of cartooning. The NCS is an organization of professional cartoonists in the United States, founded in 1946, with the mission of promoting and supporting the art of cartooning.

The idea for a National Cartoonist Day was proposed by cartoonist Rick Stromoski, who thought it would be a great way to recognize and honor the contributions of cartoonists to society. The first National Cartoonist Day was celebrated on May 5th, 1995, with events and activities organized by the NCS and its members.

Since then, National Cartoonist Day has become an annual tradition, celebrated by cartoonists, fans of cartoons and comics, and organizations dedicated to promoting the art form. The day is observed with exhibitions, workshops, contests, and other events that showcase the work of cartoonists and raise awareness of the importance of cartoons and comics in our culture.

National Cartoonist Day (May 5th)


Cartoonist Timeline

Here is a timeline of some significant events and milestones in the history of cartooning and comic art:

  • 1837: The first comic strip, “The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck,” is published in a New York newspaper.
  • 1895: The first Sunday comic strip, “The Yellow Kid,” is published in the New York World newspaper.
  • 1919: The first Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning is awarded to Rollin Kirby.
  • 1928: The first appearance of Mickey Mouse in the animated short film “Steamboat Willie.”
  • 1938: The first appearance of Superman in Action Comics #1.
  • 1940: The first appearance of Batman in Detective Comics #27.
  • 1950: The publication of Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic strip, which runs until 2000 and becomes one of the most popular and influential comic strips of all time.
  • 1955: The founding of the National Cartoonists Society, a professional organization for cartoonists.
  • 1960: The first appearance of Marvel Comics’ superhero team, the Fantastic Four.
  • 1978: The first appearance of Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel “Maus,” which portrays the Holocaust through the story of Spiegelman’s father.
  • 1985: The publication of “Watchmen,” a groundbreaking graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons that redefined the superhero genre.
  • 1989: The first appearance of “The Simpsons” television show, which becomes the longest-running American sitcom and the longest-running American animated program.
  • 2018: The first Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning awarded to a webcomic, “La Cucaracha” by Lalo Alcaraz.

These are just a few examples of the many milestones and achievements in the rich and diverse history of cartooning and comic art.

National Cartoonist Day Activities

There are many ways to celebrate National Cartoonist Day and honor the art and craft of cartooning. Here are a few activity ideas:

  1. Visit a comics or graphic novel store: Visit your local comic book store to browse and purchase comics and graphic novels, and support local cartoonists.
  2. Attend a comic convention or festival: Many cities host comic conventions and festivals where you can meet and interact with cartoonists and comic book creators, attend panels and workshops, and purchase comics and art.
  3. Create your own cartoons: Channel your inner cartoonist and create your own comic strip or single-panel cartoon. Share it with friends and family or post it online.
  4. Watch cartoons: Spend the day watching your favorite animated shows or movies, and appreciate the artistry and storytelling that goes into creating them.
  5. Visit a cartoon museum: Many cities have museums or exhibitions dedicated to cartooning and comic art. Check out a local museum or plan a visit to a larger museum, like the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum in Columbus, Ohio or the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco.
  6. Share your favorite cartoons: Share your favorite cartoons and comics on social media and encourage others to discover and appreciate the art form.

Remember, National Cartoonist Day is all about celebrating the creativity, humor, and artistry of cartooning, and honoring the contributions that cartoonists make to our culture and society.

Why We Love and Celebrate National Cartoonist Day

There are many reasons why people love and celebrate National Cartoonist Day. Here are a few:

  1. Entertainment: Cartoons are a form of entertainment that have been enjoyed by people of all ages for generations. They make us laugh, think, and feel, and provide a fun and engaging escape from everyday life.
  2. Creativity: Cartooning is a form of artistic expression that requires creativity, imagination, and skill. Many people appreciate and celebrate National Cartoonist Day because it recognizes and honors the hard work and talent of cartoonists.
  3. Cultural significance: Cartoons and comics have played an important role in our culture and society, reflecting our values, beliefs, and attitudes. National Cartoonist Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the cultural significance of cartooning and its impact on our lives.
  4. Education: Cartoons can be a powerful educational tool, teaching us about history, science, politics, and more. National Cartoonist Day can be an opportunity to explore the educational value of cartoons and comics.
  5. Community: National Cartoonist Day brings together a community of fans, artists, and professionals who share a love and appreciation for the art form. It provides an opportunity to connect with others who share your interests and passions.

Overall, National Cartoonist Day is a celebration of the creativity, humor, and artistry of cartooning, and the impact that cartoons and comics have on our culture and society.


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