Comic Book History

cb1Comic books today cover a variety of subjects. There are horror, fantasy, sci-fi, crime, real life, and many other subjects that comic books cover. The subject most comic books have become known for is superheroes.

At its simplest, a comic book is a series of words and pictures that are presented in a sequential manner to form a narrative that may or may not be humorous. Comic books today cover a variety of subjects. There are horror, fantasy, sci-fi, crime, real life, and many other subjects that comic books cover. The subject most comic books have become known for is superheroes.

 History

The origin of the word Comic book comes from the comic strip which generally ran in newspapers. Some argue however, that the comic in its purest form has been seen in early cultures, such as Egyptian wall art and prehistoric man cave paintings. The word, “Comics,” is still associated with both comic books, comic strips, and even comedians.

According to many experts, the precursors to modern comics were the satirical works of artists like Rudolph Töpffer, Wilhelm Bush, Christophe, or Angelo Agostini (first Brazilian comic artist).

The 1895 “Yellow Kid” created by Richard Outcault has often been cited as being the first ‘real’ comic strip. The reason being is that Richard Outcault was the first artist to use the balloon, an outlined space on the page where what the characters spoke was written. However, comic strips and comic books were published before “Yellow Kid” debuted in the New York City newspaper “The World”.

Comic books were first introduced in America in 1896 when publishers started producing collected groups of comic strips that where found in newspapers. The collections did very well, and prompted the publishers to come up with new stories and characters in this format. The reused content from the newspapers eventually gave way to new and original content that became the American comic book.

A typical comic book contains everyday language, slang, and idiom, as well as colour and a sophisticated interplay between text and image—all serving a therapeutic, explanatory, and commercial purpose in American culture. Traditionally occupying the fringes of pop culture, the comic book is actually a valuable historical text that comments on how young people and adults alike identify with cultural and political issues. As such, a comic book is much more than just a series of words and pictures with marginal cultural importance.

Everything changed with Action Comics #1. This comic book introduced us to the character Superman in the year 1938. The character and comic was extremely successful and paved the way for future comic book publishers and new heroes such as we have today.

Since the 1960s the comic book industry has been dominated by the two major publishers of superhero books—Marvel and Detective Comics (DC). DC’s official name for almost 50 years was National Periodical Publication; Marvel was known as Timely Comics from 1939 to about 1950, and then as Atlas Comics for much of the 1950s.

Many comic book fans often use the concept of “ages” to distinguish periods of comic book history that share concerns, storytelling techniques, marketing strategies, styles of art and writing, and approach to genre conventions (Coogan 2006). These ages can roughly be distinguished as the Golden (1938-1956), Silver (1956-1971), Bronze (1971-1980), Iron (1980-1987), and Modern (1987-present).

 

 

 

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