"The Comic Strip Century," edited by Bill Blackbeard and Dale Crain. Kitchen Sink Press. Two volumes. 480 pages. $79.95 On the cover, the Yellow Kid, jug-eared progenitor of all that is loved, loathed and celebrated today as the American comic strip, carries his caption as ever on his nightshirt: "Me Mudder wud drop Ded if she seen dis Golleckshun." And so it proceeds. From the Yellow Kid through Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side, this compilation presents and pays tribute to a century of the glorious genre of art and journalism from 1895 to date. Learned but accessible essays trace origins far further back and ornament the understanding of the form. But the glories are the reproductions. Not cheap, but beautifully put together. Meat of a thousand nostalgia orgies. An immortal gift.