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Comic Books1. What is a comic book?2. History of comic books in U.S.A . and U.K.3. Comic strips.4.Pictures.5. Bibliography.
Comic books A comic book or comicbook, also called comic paper or comicmagazine (often shortened to simply comic or comics) is a magazine made upof "comics"—narrative artwork in the form of separate panels thatrepresent individual scenes, often accompanied by dialog (usually in wordballoons, emblematic of the comic book art form) as well as including briefdescriptive prose. The first comic book appeared in the United States in 1933,reprinting the earlier newspaper comic strips, which established many ofthe story-telling devices used in comics. The term "comic book" arosebecause the first comic books reprinted humor comic strips. Despite theirname, comic books are not necessarily humorous in tone; modern comicbooks tell stories in a variety of genres.
In Lucas Cranach the Elders "Adam and Eve" different scenes of the Biblical story are shown in the sameSequential depictions on Trajans Column painting: on the front, God is admonishing the couple for their sin; in the background to the right are shown the earlier scenes of Eves creation from Adams rib and of their being tempted to eat the forbidden fruit; on the left is the later scene of their expulsion from Paradise. Comics as an art form established itself in the late 19th and early 20th century, alongside the similar forms of film and animation. The three forms share certain conventions, most noticeably the mixing of words and pictures, and all three owe parts of their conventions to the technological leaps made through the industrial revolution. Though newspapers and magazines first established and popularized comics in the late 1890s, narrative illustration has existed for many centuries.
Early precursors of comic as they are known today include TrajansColumn and the work of William Hogarth. Romes Trajans Column, dedicated in 113AD, is an early surviving example of a narrative told through sequential pictures,while Egyptian hieroglyphs, Greek friezes, medieval tapestries such as the BayeuxTapestry and illustrated manuscripts also combine sequential images and words totell a story. Versions of the Bible relying primarily on images rather than text werewidely distributed in Europe in order to bring the teachings of Christianity to theilliterate. In medieval paintings, many sequential scenes of the same story (usually aBiblical one) appear simultaneously in the same painting. However, these works did not travel to the reader; it took the invention ofmodern printing techniques to bring the form to a wide audience and become a massmedium.
The 15th–18th centuries and printing advances The invention of the printing press, allowing movable type,established a separation between images and words, the two requiringdifferent methods in order to be reproduced. Early printed materialconcentrated on religious subjects, but through the 17th and 18thcenturies, they began to tackle aspects of political and social life, and alsostarted to satirize and caricature. It was also during this period that thespeech bubble was developed as a means of attributing dialogue. WilliamHogarth is often identified in histories of the comics form. His work, A Rakes Progress, was composed of a number of canvases,each reproduced as a print, and the eight prints together created anarrative. As printing techniques developed, due to the technologicaladvances of the industrial revolution, magazines and newspapers wereestablished. These publications utilized illustrations as a means ofcommenting on political and social issues, such illustrations becoming knownas cartoons in the 1840s. Soon, artists were experimenting withestablishing a sequence of images to create a narrative.
French Liberty. British Slavery, James Gillrays 1792 caricature poking fun at the French Revolution, anticipates the modern comic strip in having both separate panel sand characters speaking via speech balloons. While surviving works of these periods such as Francis Barlows A TrueNarrative of the Horrid Hellish Popish Plot (c.1682) as well as The Punishments ofLemuel Gulliver and A Rakes Progress by William Hogarth (1726), can be seen toestablish a narrative over a number of images, it wasnt until the 19th century thatthe elements of such works began to crystallise into the comic strip. The speech balloon also evolved during this period, from the medieval originsof the phylactery, a label, usually in the form of a scroll, which identified a charactereither through naming them or using a short text to explain their purpose. Artistssuch as George Cruikshank helped codify such phylactersas balloons rather thanscrolls, though at this time they were still called labels. Speech balloons werentreintroduced to the form until Richard F. Outcault used them for dialogue.
Rodolphe Töpffer, a Francophone Swiss artist, is seen as the key figure of theearly part of the 19th century. Though speech balloons fell from favour during themiddle 19th century, Töpffers sequentially illustrated stories, with textcompartmentalized below images, were reprinted throughout Europe and the UnitedStates. The lack of copyright laws at the time allowed these pirated editions, andtranslated versions created a market on both continents for similar works. In 1843,Töpffer formalised his thoughts on the picture story in his Essay on Physiognomics: ―To construct a picture-story does not mean you must set yourself up as a mastercraftsman, to draw out every potential from your material—often down to the dregs!It does not mean you just devise caricatures with a pencil naturally frivolous. Nor is itsimply to dramatize a proverb or illustrate a pun. You must actually invent some kindof play, where the parts are arranged by plan and form a satisfactory whole. You donot merely pen a joke or put a refrain in couplets. You make a book: good or bad,sober or silly, crazy or sound in sense."
In 1845, the satirical drawings, which regularly appeared innewspapers and magazines, gained a name: cartoons. (In art, a cartoon is apencil or charcoal sketch to be overpainted.) The British magazine Punch,launched in 1841, referred to its humorous pencilings as cartoons in asatirical reference to the Parliament of the day, who were themselvesorganising an exhibition of cartoons, or preparatory drawings, at the time.This usage became common parlance, lasting to the present day. Similarmagazines containing cartoons in continental Europe included FliegendeBlätter and Le Charivari, while in the U.S. Judge and Puck were popular. In 1865 saw the publication of Max and Moritz by Wilhelm Busch bya German newspaper. Busch refined the conventions of sequential art, andhis work was a key influence within the form, Rudolph Dirks was inspiredby the strip to create The Katzenjammer Kids in 1897.
In 1884, Ally Slopers Half Holiday was published, a magazine whose sellingpoint was a strip featuring the titular character, and widely regarded as the firstcomic strip magazine to feature a recurring character. In 1890, two more comicmagazines debuted to the British public, Comic Cuts and Illustrated Chips,establishing the tradition of the British comic as an anthology periodical containingcomic strips. In the United States, R.F. Outcaults work in combining speech balloons andimages on Hogans Alley and The Yellow Kid has been credited as establishing theform and conventions of the comic strip, though academics have uncovered earlierworks that combine speech bubbles and a multi image narrative. However, thepopularity of Outcalts work and the position of the strip in a newspaper retainscredit as a driving force of the form.
The 20th century and the mass-media Little Sammy Sneeze (1904–06) by Winsor McCay The 1920s and 1930s saw further booms within the industry. In China,a market was established for palm-sized picture books like Lianhuanhua,while the market for comic anthologies in Britain had turned to targetingchildren through juvenile humor, with The Dandy and The Beano launched.In Belgium, Hergé created the Tintin newspaper strip for a comicsupplement; this was successfully collected in a bound album and created amarket for further such works. The same period in the United States hadseen newspaper strips expand their subject matter beyond humour, withaction, adventure and mystery strips launched. The collection of suchmaterial also began, with The Funnies, a reprint collection of newspaperstrips, published in tabloid size in 1929.
A market for such comic books soon followed, and by 1938 publishers wereprinting original material in the format. It was at this point that Action Comics#1launched, with Superman as the cover feature. The popularity of the characterswiftly enshrined the superhero as the defining genre of American comics. The genrelost popularity in the 1950s but re-established its domination of the form from the1960s until the late 20th century. In Japan, a country with a long tradition for illustration and whose writing systemevolved from pictures, comics were hugely popular. Referred to as manga, theJapanese form was established after World War II by Osamu Tezuka, whoexpanded the page count of a work to number in the hundreds, and who developed afilmic style, heavily influenced by the Disney animations of the time. The Japanesemarket expanded its range to cover works in many genres, from juvenile fantasythrough romance to adult fantasies. Japanese manga is typically published in largeanthologies, containing several hundred pages, and the stories told have long beenused as sources for adaptation into animated film. In Japan, such films are referredto as anime, and many creators work in both forms simultaneously, leading to anintrinsic linking of the two forms.
During the latter half of the 20th century comics have become a very popularitem for collectors and from the 1970s American comics publishers have activelyencouraged collecting and shifted a large portion of comics publishing and productionto appeal directly to the collectors community. Writing in 1972, Sir Ernst Gombrichfelt Töpffer had evolved a new pictorial language, that of an abbreviated art style,which allowed the audience to fill in gaps with their imagination. The modern double use of the term comic, as an adjective describing a genre,and a noun designating an entire medium, has been criticized as confusing andmisleading. In 2005, Robert Crumbs work was exhibited in galleries both sides ofthe Atlantic, and The Guardian newspaper devoted its tabloid supplement to aweeklong exploration of his work and idioms. Comics have been a popular source for film and television adaptations. For a listof film adaptations, see List of films based on comics.
Comic strip Jimmy Hatlos Theyll Do It Every Time was often drawn in the two-panel format as seen in this 1943 example. Winsor McCays Little Nemo (1905), an American Sunday comic strip featuring a heightened use of perspective,a sequential narrative in panel tiers and dream-like plots.
A comic strip is a sequence of drawings arranged in interrelated panels todisplay brief humor or form a narrative, often serialized, with text in balloons andcaptions. Traditionally, throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, these werepublished in newspapers, with horizontal strips printed in black-and-white in dailynewspapers, while Sunday newspapers offered longer sequences in special colorcomics sections. There were more than 200 different comic strips and dailycartoon panels in American newspapers alone each day for most of the 20thcentury, for a total of at least 7,300,000 episodes. Strips are written and drawn by a comic’s artist or cartoonist. As the nameimplies, comic strips can be humorous (for example, "gag-a-day" strips such asBlondie, Bringing Up Father, Marmaduke and Pearls Before Swine).
History of comic strips Storytelling using a sequence of pictures has existed throughhistory. One medieval European example in textile form is the BayeuxTapestry. Printed examples emerged in 19th-century Germany and in18th-century England, where some of the first satirical or humoroussequential narrative drawings were produced. William Hogarths 18thcentury English cartoons include both narrative sequences, such as ARakes Progress, and single panels. The Biblia pauperum ("Paupers Bible"), a tradition of pictureBibles beginning in the later Middle Ages, sometimes depicted Biblicalevents with words spoken by the figures in the miniatures written onscrolls coming out of their mouths—which makes them to some extentancestors of the modern cartoon strips.
The first newspaper comic strips appeared in North America in the late 19thcentury. The Yellow Kid is usually credited as the first. However, the art formcombining words and pictures evolved gradually, and there are many examples ofproto-comic strips. The Swiss teacher, author and caricature artist Rodolphe Töpffer (Geneva,1799–1846) is considered the father of the modern comic strips. His illustratedstories such as Histoire de M. Vieux Bois(1827), first published in the USA in 1842as The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck or Histoire de Monsieur Jabot (1831),inspired subsequent generations of German and American comic artists.
Hugely popular, Katzenjammer Kids occasioned one of the first comic-stripcopyright ownership suits in the history of the medium. When Dirks left WilliamRandolph Hearst for the promise of a better salary under Joseph Pulitzer, it wasan unusual move, since cartoonists regularly deserted Pulitzer for Hearst. In a highly unusual court decision, Hearst retained the rights to the name"Katzenjammer Kids", while creator Dirks retained the rights to the characters.Hearst promptly hired Harold Knerr to draw his own version of the strip. Dirksrenamed his version Hans and Fritz (later, The Captain and the Kids). Thus, two versions distributed by rival syndicates graced the comics pagesfor decades. Dirks version, eventually distributed by United Feature Syndicate,ran until 1979.
In America, the great popularity of comics sprang from the newspaper war(1887 onwards) between Pulitzer and Hearst. The Little Bears (1893–96) was thefirst American comic with recurring characters, while the first color comicsupplement was published by the Chicago Inter-Ocean sometime in the latterhalf of 1892, followed by the New York Journals first color Sunday comic pagesin 1897. On January 31, 1912, Hearst introduced the nations first full daily comicpage in his New York Evening Journal. The history of this newspaper rivalry andthe rapid appearance of comic strips in most major American newspapers isdiscussed by Ian Gordon. Numerous events in newspaper comic strips have reverberated throughoutsociety at large, though few of these events occurred in recent years, owingmainly to the declining role of the newspaper comic strip as an entertainmentform.
The longest running American comic strips are: 1. Katzenjammer Kids (1897-present) 2. Gasoline Alley (1918-present) 3. Barney Google and Snuffy Smith (1919-present) 4. Thimble Theater/Popeye (1919-present) 5. Little Orphan Annie (1924-2010) Newspaper comic strips come in two different types: daily strips andSunday strips. Most newspaper comic strips are syndicated; a syndicate hirespeople to write and draw a strip and then distributes it to many newspapers for afee. A few newspaper strips are exclusive to one newspaper. For example, the Pogo comic strip by Walt Kelly originally appeared only inthe New York Star in 1948 and was not picked up for syndication until thefollowing year. In the United States, a daily strip appears in newspapers onweekdays, Monday through Saturday, as contrasted with a Sunday strip, whichtypically only appears on Sundays. Daily strips usually are printed in black andwhite, and Sunday strips are usually in color.
During the 1930s, the original art for a daily strip could be drawn as large as 25inches wide by six inches high. As strips have become smaller, the number of panelshas been reduced. The popularity and accessibility of strips meant they were often clipped andsaved; authors including John Updike and Ray Bradbury have written about theirchildhood collections of clipped strips. Often posted on bulletin boards, clipped stripshad an ancillary form of distribution when they were faxed, photocopied or mailed.The Baltimore Suns Linda White recalled: "I followed the adventures of Winnie Winkle, Moon Mullins and Dondi, andwaited each fall to see how Lucy would manage to trick Charlie Brown into trying tokick that football. (After I left for college, my father would clip out that strip eachyear and send it to me just to make sure I didn’t miss it.)"
Proof sheets were the means by which syndicates provided newspapers withblack-and-white line art for the reproduction of strips (which they arranged to havecolored in the case of Sunday strips). Michigan State University Comic Art Collectionlibrarian Randy Scott describes these as:―Large sheets of paper on which newspaper comics have traditionally beendistributed to subscribing newspapers. Typically each sheet will have either six dailystrips of a given title or one Sunday strip. Thus, a week of Beetle Bailey would arriveat the Lansing State Journal in two sheets, printed much larger than the final versionand ready to be cut apart and fitted into the local comics page." Comic strip historian Allan Holtz described how strips were provided as mats(the plastic or cardboard trays in which molten metal is poured to make plates) oreven plates ready to be put directly on the printing press. He also notes that withelectronic means of distribution becoming more prevalent printed sheets "aredefinitely on their way out."
Cartoon panel Jimmy Hatlos “Theyll Do It Every Time” was often drawn in the two-panel format as seen in this 1943 example. Single panels usually, but not always, are not broken up and lack continuity.The daily Peanuts is a strip, and the daily Dennis the Menace is a single panel. J. R.Williams long-run Out Our Way continued as a daily panel even after it expanded into aSunday strip, Out Our Way with the Willets. Jimmy Hatlos Theyll Do It Every Timewas often displayed in a two-panel format with the first panel showing some deceptive,pretentious, unwitting or scheming human behavior and the second panel revealing thetruth of the situation.
Sunday comics Gene Aherns The Squirrel Cage (January 3, 1937), an example of a topper strip which is better remembered than the strip it accompanied, Aherns Room and Board. Sunday newspapers traditionally included a special color section. Early Sundaystrips, such as Thimble Theatre and Little Orphan Annie, filled an entire newspaper page.Sunday pages during the 1930s and into the 1940s often carried a secondary strip by thesame artist as the main strip. During the 1930s, the original art for a Sunday strip was usually drawn quitelarge. For example, in 1930, Russ Westover drew his Tillie the Toiler Sunday page at asize of 17" × 37". In 1937, the cartoonist Dudley Fisher launched the innovative RightAround Home, drawn as a huge single panel filling an entire Sunday page.
Underground comic strips The decade of the 1960s saw the rise of underground newspapers, which often carried comic strips, such as Fritz the Cat and The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. Zippy the Pinhead initially appeared in underground publications in the 1970s before being syndicated. Bloom County and Doonesbury began as strips in college newspapers under different titles, and later moved to national syndication. Underground comic strips covered subjects that are usually taboo in newspaper strips, such as sex and drugs. Many underground artists, Russell Patterson and notably Vaughn Bode, Dan ONeill, GilbertCarolyn Wells New Adventures of Shelton and Art Spiegelman went on to drawFlossy Frills (January 26, 1941),an example of comic strips on comic strips for magazines such as Playboy,Sunday magazines. National Lampoon and Pete Millars Cartoons.
Web comic Web comics, also known as online comics and internet comics, are comicsthat are available to read on the Internet. Many are exclusively published online,while some are published in print but maintain a web archive for eithercommercial or artistic reasons. Two of the most popular are Penny Arcade,focused primarily on video gaming, and User Friendly, which bases its humor onthe Internet and other computer-user issues. The majority of traditionalnewspaper comic strips have some Internet presence. King Features Syndicateand other syndicates often provide archives of recent strips on their websites.Some, such as Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, include an email address in eachstrip.
Conventions and genres Most comic strip characters do not age throughout the strips life, but insome strips, like Lynn Johnstons award-winning For Better or For Worse, thecharacters age as the years pass. The first strip to feature aging characters wasGasoline Alley. The history of comic strips also includes series that are not humorous, buttell an ongoing dramatic story. Examples include The Phantom, Prince Valiant, DickTracy, Mary Worth, Modesty Blaise, Little Orphan Annie, and Tarzan. Sometimesthese are spin-offs from comic books, for example Superman, Batman and TheAmazing Spider-Man. A number of strips have featured animals (funny animals) as maincharacters. Some are non-verbal (Marmaduke, The Angriest Dog in the World),some have verbal thoughts but are not understood by humans, (Garfield, Snoopyin Peanuts), and some can converse with humans (Bloom County, Calvin andHobbes, Mutts, Citizen Dog, Buckles, Get Fuzzy, Pearls Before Swine and PoochCafe). Other strips are centered entirely on animals, as in Pogo and Donald Duck.Gary Larsons The Far Side was unusual, as there were no central characters.
Publicity and recognition The worlds longest comic strip is 88.9-metre (292 ft) long and on displayat Trafalgar Square as part of the London Comedy Festival. TheLondon Cartoon Strip was created by 15 of Britains best known cartoonists anddepicts the history of London. The Reuben, named for cartoonist Rube Goldberg, is the most prestigiousaward for U.S. comic strip artists. Reuben awards are presented annually by theNational Cartoonists Society (NCS). Issues in U.S. newspaper comic strips―Comics are sort of the third rail of the newspaper.‖—Jeff Reece, lifestyle editor of The Florida Times-Union As newspapers change, the changes have also affected comic strips.
Size In the early decades of the 20th century, all Sunday comics received a fullpage, and daily strips were generally the width of the page. Daily strips have suffered as well, in 1910 the strips had an unlimitedamount of panels, covering the entire width page, while by 1930 most "dailies" hadfour or five panels covering six of the eight columns occupied by a traditionalbroadsheet paper, by 1958 those four panels would be narrower, and those wouldhave half of the space a 1910 daily strip had, and around 1998 most strips wouldhave three panels only (with a few exceptions), or even two or one on anoccasional basis, apart from strips being smaller, as most papers became slightlynarrower. While most cartoonists decided to follow the tide, some cartoonists havecomplained about this, with Pogo ending in 1975 as a form of protest from itscreators against the practice.
Format In an issue related to size limitations, Sunday comics are often bound torigid formats that allow their panels to be rearranged in several different wayswhile remaining readable. Such formats usually include throwaway panels at thebeginning, which some newspapers will omit for space. As a result, cartoonists have less incentive to put great efforts into thesepanels. Garfield and Mutts were known during the mid-to-late 80s and 1990srespectively for their throwaways on their Sunday strips, however both stripsnow run "generic" title panels.
British Comics Originally the same size as a usual comic book in the U.S. (althoughlacking the glossy cover), the British comic has adopted a magazine size, withThe Beano and The Dandy the last to adopt this size (in the 1980s). Althoughthe British generally speak of "a comic" or of "a comic magazine", and theyalso historically spoke of "a comic paper". Some comics, such as Judge Dreddand other 2000 AD titles, have been published in a tabloid form. Although Ally Slopers Half Holiday (1884), the first comic published inBritain, was aimed at an adult market, publishers quickly targeted a youngermarket, which has led to most publications being for children and created anassociation in the publics mind of comics as somewhat juvenile. Popular titles within the UK have included The Beano, The Dandy, TheEagle, 2000 AD, and Viz. Underground comics and "small press" titles havealso been published within the UK, notably Ozand Escape Magazine.
The content of Action, another title aimed at children andlaunched in the mid-1970s, became the subject of discussion in theHouse of Commons. Although on a smaller scale than similarinvestigations in the U.S., such concerns led to a moderation of contentpublished within British comics. Such moderation never becameformalized to the extent of promulgating a code, nor did it last long. The UK has also established a healthy market in the reprinting andrepackaging of material, notably material originating in the U.S. Thelack of reliable supplies of American comic books led to a variety ofblack-and-white reprints, including Marvels monster comics of the1950s, Fawcetts Captain Marvel, and other characters such as Sheena,Mandrake the Magician, and the Phantom. Several reprint companieswere involved in repackaging American material for the British market,notably the importer and distributor Thorpe & Porter.
Marvel Comics established a UK office in 1972. DC Comics and Dark HorseComics also opened offices in the 1990s. The repackaging of European materialhas occurred less frequently, although the Tintin and Asterix serials have beensuccessfully translated and repackaged in softcover books. At Christmas time, publishers repackage and commission material for comicannuals, printed and bound as hardcover A4-size books; Rupert supplies a famousexample of the British comic annual.DC Thomson also repackages The Broons andOor Wullie strips in softcover A4-size books for the holiday season. On 19 March 2012, the British postal service, the Royal Mail, released a setof stamps depicting British comic-book characters and series.The collectionfeatured The Beano, The Dandy,Eagle, The Topper, Roy of the Rovers, Bunty,Buster, Valiant, Twinkle and 2000 AD.
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