The Art of the Funnies: An Aesthetic History / Edition 1

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Overview

The comic strip was created by rival newspapers of the Hearst and the Pulitzer organizations as a device for increasing circulation. In the United States it quickly became an institution that soon spread worldwide as a favorite form of popular culture. What made the comic strip so enduring? This fascinating study by one of the few comics critics to develop sound critical principles by which to evaluate the comics as works of art and literature unfolds the history of the funnies and reveals the subtle art of how the comic strip blends words and pictures to make its impact. Together, these create meaning that neither conveys by itself. The Art of The Funnies offers a critical vocabulary for the appreciation of the newspaper comic strip as an art form and shows that full awareness of the artistry comes from considering both the verbal and the visual elements of the medium. The techniques of creating a comic strip - breaking down the narrative, composition of the panel, planning the layout - have remained constant since comic strips were originated. Since 1900 with Winsor McCay's Little Nemo in Slumberland key cartoonists have relied on the union of words and pictures to give the funnies their continuing appeal. This art has persisted in such milestone achievements as Bud Fisher's Mutt and Jeff, George McManus's Bringing Up Father, Sidney Smith's The Gumps, Roy Crane's Wash Tubbs and Captain Easy, Harold Gray's Little Orphan Annie, Chester Gould's Dick Tracy, Zack Mosley's Smilin' Jack, Harold Foster's Tarzan, Alex Raymond's Secret Agent X-9, Jungle Jim, and Flash Gordon, Milton Caniff's Terry and the Pirates, E. C. Segar's Popeye, George Herriman's Krazy Kat, and Walt Kelly's Pogo. In more recent times with Mort Walker's Beetle Bailey, Charles Schulz's Peanuts. Johnny Hart's B.C., T.K. Ryan's Tumbleweeds, Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury, and Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes, the artform has evolved with new developments, yet the aesthetics of the funnies remain basic
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
"A cartoonist," writes Harvey, "is a kind of one-man band...scriptwriter and story editor, casting director and camera operator, prop man and make-up artist...producer and director and actor and actress." Harvey examines the newspaper comic strip cartoonist in all these roles, tracing the history of strips in the United States from the early 1900s-when they were employed by Hearst and Pulitzer as weapons in the circulation wars-to the World War II action adventures of Terry and the Pirates, the satirical humor of Walt Kelly's Pogo, and popular contemporary strips such as Calvin and Hobbes. A cartoonist himself, as well as a lifelong student of the comics, Harvey has formulated precise standards for judging comic strips-standards that emphasize the importance of a skillful combination of both visual and verbal elements. Highly recommended for both academic and public libraries. (Color illustrations not seen.)-Janice Zlendich, California State Univ. Lib., Fullerton
Booknews
A serious history and critique of a curiously robust medium, by an unabashed fan whose interest lies in teasing out the elements that make comic strips enduring. Twelve essays some of which are based on previously published pieces in The Comics Journal explore such subjects as the popularity and proliferation of comic strips, how a noncartoonist shaped the medium, Popeye and the Great Depression, and lyric clowns who captivated the intelligentsia. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780878056743
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
  • Publication date: 7/1/1994
  • Series: Studies in Popular Culture Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 298
  • Product dimensions: 8.55 (w) x 11.02 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Ch. 1 The Aesthetics of the Comics: A Preamble through History and Form 3
Ch. 2 Somnambulist of a Vanished Dream: Winsor McCay's Exploration of the Medium's Potential 21
Ch. 3 Establishing the Daily Comic Strip: The Thematic Choruses of Bud Fisher and George McManus 35
Ch. 4 Continuity and Syndication: The Popularity and Proliferation of Comic Strips 60
Ch. 5 A Flourish of Trumpets: Roy Crane and the Adventure Strip 70
Ch. 6 The Captain and the Comics: How a Noncartoonist Shaped the Medium 92
Ch. 7 Exoticism Made Real: The Advent of Illustrators 116
Ch. 8 Redefining the Art: Milton Caniff and Terry and the Dragon Lady 138
Ch. 9 What This Country Needed Was a Good Segar: Popeye and the Great Depression 159
Ch. 10 Peddlers and Poets: The Lyric Clowns Who Captivated the Intelligentsia 171
Ch. 11 Of Infinite Jest: The Dawn of the Modern Comic Strip 202
Meanwhile...: An Ending to Begin With 239
Notes 241
Index 249
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