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Brief History of Comics

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by

Michael Ayers

on 28 October 2014

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Transcript of Brief History of Comics

Little Nemo in Slumberland
Windsor McKay,
New York Herald
1905
1938-1945
“Like Jonathan Swift’s Lemuel Gulliver or Lewis Carroll’s Alice, Nemo was a sober and innocent soul who traveled to a bizarre fantasyland..." (Heer, 2006).
1800s
Early Sequential Art
word balloons
panels
gutters between panels
Sequential Art by Rodolphe Töpffer (Swiss artist, early 19th C)
"The Yellow Kid," by Richard F. Outcault (American, 1896)
central character
"The Katzenjammer Kids," by Rudolph Dirks (German-American, 1897)
Action Comics #1: Superman
Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster
Siegel & Shuster sold the rights to Superman for
$130
and a contract to make comics for D.C.
1945-1955
Soon, the title “Superman" was selling 900,000 copies per month (Genter, 955).
By the mid-1940s, comics were, through sales and personal lending, reaching more people than film, television, or adult magazines (Hajdu, 2008, p. 5).
Crime!
Horror!
There were also plenty of comics written for adults in various genres that were popular in the 1940s:
But then, in the 1950s...
William Gaines
E.C. Comics

1960s
National/DC
Timely/Marvel
EC Comics
So what did comic book writers and artists do if they had ideas for adult readers?
What if they had ideas for stories that were morally complex? Or where good didn't triumph?
What if they thought the Comics Code Authority was a bunch of BS? Where did those artists go?
They went underground.
1970s
There are many others that are not appropriate for school. Not even close.
Meanwhile, in England...
1980s
Full transcript