Defining characteristics of the first comic strip | The Kid's conversion to passive spectatorship | Reimagining performance transgression | The city disappears
In spite of this strip's flattening of audience-performance relations, the punchline does present a stylized version of the transgression of performance boundaries.
The urban setting of older strips has been replaced by a nondescript background.
This strip is commonly identified as the first comic strip because it assembles, supposedly for the first time:

1) a regularly recurring character,
2) word balloons, and
3) a narrative sequence of pictures.
The Kid has become a credulous spectator, taking the phonograph at its word.

Richard F. Outcault, "The Yellow Kid and His New Phonograph," New York Journal 25 Oct. 1896, rpt. in R.F. Outcault's The Yellow Kid: A Centennial Celebration of the Kid Who Started the Comics (Northampton, Massachusetts: Kitchen Sink Press, 1995) plate 41.