History of Comics and Famous Comic Examples
Comics are important pieces of literature that many writers, andartists alike, use to express their views and pass messages. Comicsare alternatives to novels, especially popular for those people whodo not have the will power to read hundreds of pages of pure text.The comics are entertaining and informative at the same time. Assuch, comics are important tools of literature especially innarratives. Stories told by these comics are as good as those foundin novels and other books are. Comics are also important tools in theliterary world in that they play a major role in educating, andentertaining their readers. It is for this reason that comics have ahuge following in many countries. This paper seeks to find out thehistory of comics how they came into being, and how they took theliterary world by storm. The paper also looks at some of the popularcomics in the industry.
Comics have been a round even before the term ‘comic’ was coined.Comics are narratives told in sequential pictures. The art of tellingstories through sequential pictures traces its history back to 113 AD(Buhle, 2007). Recorded history shows that the Trajan columns in theAncient Roman Empire are the earliest known comics. The Greeks andancient Egyptians also used sequential pictures to tell stories.European regimes also used the comic to tell the story ofChristianity. During the medieval ages when only the ruling eliteswere literate, propagators of Christianity used sequential picturesto tell the stories of the Bible to the illiterate masses. Althoughthey were not known as comics back then, their description fits thatof a comic.
The advent of printing press allowing movable type was a major boostin the comic world. This invention made it possible to separate textfrom pictures in printed-paper. Initially, the printing press wasonly possible for replicating text on blank paper but images wereunprintable.
This invention came around the 16th Century, which alsomarks the period when the current version of comics started. Amongthe first creators of comics was William Horgarth in the 17thCentury (Buhle, 2007). He created seven sequential images that aimedat telling the story of social life. The improvement in printingtechnology also had a positive effect on the progression of comics asan alternative to telling narratives. During the age of Industrialrevolution, in the late 18th Century and early 19thCentury, the improvements in the printing industry saw the creationof newspapers. The early newspapers popularized the idea of comics byusing sequential images as illustrations in editorials and opinions.The period of industrial revolution earned comics the name cartoons.
The Glasgow looking glass was the first comic to follow the formatthat comics use nowadays. The publication was a comic strip thatinvolved a series of publications following a specific theme. Thesatirical comic drew its ideas from politics, society, and fashion.The first serialized comic was a weekly comic in a British magazinecalled Judy in 1867 (Dragojević & Francesk, 2010). According theDragojević and Francesk (2010), these developments in the comicindustry set the precedent for the revolution that was going to hitthe industry in the 20th Century. During the mid and late19th Century, comics were slowly gaining popularity butthey had not reached the status of mass medium.
The period between 1920 and 1930 saw a boom in the comic industry.Artists and writers collaborated to create the best comics in theindustry. The genres off comics increased significantly. Previously,comics were common for articulating societal issues. However, withthe sudden boom in comics, developers decided to venture into otherthemes including fiction, romance, and comedy. Newspapers createdsegments dedicated entirely for comics. Some of the most popularcomics of the 20th Century include the adventures ofTintin and the Funnies in Belgium and USA respectively.
In 1938, publishers were creating original material for the comicindustry unlike before when they relied on newspaper strips to givethem publicity. The age of superheroes began with the newfound marketniche in the comic industry (Benton, 1999). Publishers realized thatcomic books could sell independently without the compliment ofnewspapers. The age of superheroes saw the birth of superhero comicseries such as superman. According the Dragojević and Francesk(2010), this new age of superhero comics gained popularity worldwideand they were colloquially known as American comic books. Althoughcomic books saw a decline in their popularity in the late 1950’sthey sprang back to their former glory in the 1960’s and late 20thCentury.
Currently, there are numerous genres of comics for different sectionsof the market. Examples of common comics that are popular in today’syouth are hyperbole, bored panda, and Dykes. Many publishers havealso gone from the traditional practice of making comic books toutilizing the internet to spread their ideas. Many upcoming writersare using the blogosphere to popularize their serial comics. Internetusers can log into these sites and read the latest episode of theserial comics.
Benton, M. (1999). Superhero comics of the Golden Age: theillustrated history (No. 4). Taylor Pub.
Buhle, P. (2007). History and comics. Reviews in American History,35(2), 315-323.
Dragojević, S., & Franceski, H. (2010). History of Comics. InUvod u medije. Jesenski i Turk.