Comics themselves began in the nineteenth century - though very near the close - with two largely forgotten characters from opposite sides of the pond.
The Yellow Kid was a mischievous urchin who wore a yellow gown (yes, a real kid rather than some gunslinger) with different wording on it. The message and the image were conflated in a way not seen since. Though those Will Eisner splash pages where he incorporates the name of the strip "The Spirit" is in that direction.
The other was Ally Sloper, a crafty curmudgeon.
Two characters across the age spectrum and, given their outsider status, possessing the common touch that made this new artform for everyone.