American painter and caricaturist of German-American origin, Lyonel Charles Feininger or simply Lyonel Feininger (July 17, 1871 – January 13, 1956), was an icon in the contemporary cartoon scene. With most of his artworks being mostly fancy, Lyonel’s many famous artworks were displayed in the then great museums and reputed exhibitions. Apart from visual arts, he was also towards music, as a pianist and a composer. As a cartoonist, Feininger’s most famous works were the newspaper comics “The Kin-der-Kids” and “Wee Willie Winkie’s World,” known for their spectacular graphic experimentation. Chicago’s daily newspaper, ‘The Chicago Sunday Tribune,’ published these strips during 1906-07.
“The Kin-der-Kids” by Feininger is an ongoing short story series about three kin-der brothers, who, in an attempt to explore the world, set out sailing on their family’s antique bathtub. Their dog and a mechanical boy accompanied them. The strips reveal that the Kin-ders received a note earlier, from a Mysterious Pete. The note, unseen to the readers, carried the required details for their trip. The instruction and the reason for the trip remained a mystery throughout, until date!
Before the actual beginning of “The Kin-der-Kids'” publication, the main casts of the comics were introduced to the newspaper’s readers through a special introductory section, “All About the Tribune’s New Comic Supplement,” published on April 29, 1906. The cover of the supplement featured a caricature of Lyonel Feininger as “Uncle.” He was shown suspending the casts, like puppets on strings. A full page bore the colored pictures of the comic’s characters, with a brief explanation about them inside the supplement.
The character sketches of “The Kin-der-Kids'” main casts are:
o Daniel Webster: Quite similar to Wee Willie Winkie, Daniel was a total bookworm, who would not want to get disturbed ever. He was never aware of anything happening around him. Daniel’s character is very similar to that of Wee Willie Winkie.
o Pie-Mouth: He had a big mouth and was accordingly a big foodie.
o Strenuous Teddy: The strongest of all the three of the Kin-der-kids, he would readily show his might as and when required.
o Little Japansky: This was a wooden clockwork boy, the three kids’ uncle fished. It was a mechanical clock device, which a Japanese submarine lost. Therefore, he is described as the water baby.
o Sherlock Bones: This is Daniel Webster’s dog, a blue dachshund breed that accompanies and protects the children during their tasks.
Lyonel Feininger’s comic, “The Kin-der-Kids” also includes characters, such as Aunt Jim-Jam, Gussie, Mysterious Pete and his hound, The Pillsbury Family, and Uncle Kin-der. “The Kin-der-Kids” was published last on November 18, 1906.