Early History of Comics Part 1


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An overview of the industrialisation of the UK comic world, 1900 to circa 1960

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  • Early History of Comics Part 1

    1. 1. Early History of Comics 20th Century Industrialisation
    2. 2. 20th Century Industrialisation: Lynonel Feininger Similar in form to Little Nemo and the later Sunday editions of Krazy Kat, most of Feininger's comics occupied a full-page and were rendered in color. The Kin-der-Kids began running in Tribune papers from on April 29, 1906. Detail from the kids' first adventure on May 6, 1906. From left to right: Sherlock Bones, Strenuous Teddy, Daniel Webster, Pie-Mouth, and Little Japansky (at stern).
    3. 3. 20th Century Industrialisation Art Spiegelman: “ Feininger's visually poetic formal concerns collided comically with the fishwrap disposability of news print [...] The cartoonist, a New Yorker who had emigrated to Germany at sixteen and returned to safe harbor in America in 1937 became a celebrated second-generation cubist, one of the Bauhaus boys, but his handful of Sunday pages -- testing the uncharted waters between the high and low arts, between European and American graphic traditions--remains his greatest aesthetic triumph." See the entire series at http://books.google.com.au/books?id=Fp10ymW8Vy0C&dq=feininger+kids&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=N7qWNWzVkp&sig=i9wco-4nh8MYb5ySQiX1BoDb-uQ&hl=en&ei=uDPISc67BJjC6gP25sixAg&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=3&ct=result
    4. 4. 20th Century Industrialisation
    5. 5. 20th Century Industrialisation: Winsor McCay Winsor McCay (September 26, 1867(?) – July 26, 1934) was an American cartoonist and animator. A prolific artist, McCay's pioneering early animated films far outshone the work of his contemporaries, and set a standard followed by Walt Disney and others in later decades. His two best-known creations are the newspaper comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland, which ran from 1905 to 1914, and the animated cartoon Gertie the Dinosaur, which he created in 1914. His comic strip work has influenced generations of artists, including creators such as Moebius, Chris Ware, William Joyce, and Maurice Sendak. Frames from ‘Little Sammy Sneeze’
    6. 6. 20th Century Industrialisation: Winsor McCay Frames from ‘Little Nemo in Slumberland’ Gertie the Dinosaur (Winsor McCay, 1914) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY40DHs9vc 1911 - Little Nemo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcSp2ej2S00
    7. 7. 20th Century Industrialisation: Winsor McCay
    8. 8. 20th Century Industrialisation: George Herriman George Joseph Herriman (August 22, 1880 – April 25, 1944) was an American cartoonist best known for his comic strip Krazy Kat. Coconino County is the home of Krazy, Ignatz and Offissa Pup Krazy Kat, Ignatz Mouse, Offissa Pupp and an assortment of other individuals. These cartoon characters were created in 1913 by George Herriman, a cartoonist for Hearst papers. The strip ran until the mid-1940's. In the cartoon, Krazy Kat, a cat of indeterminate sex, was in love with Ignatz Mouse. Ignatz, in turn, had a somewhat antagonistic attitude toward Krazy, which he demonstrated by tossing bricks at her head. Alas, Krazy took the hard knocks as a sign that Ignatz truly loved him. Meanwhile, Offissa Pupp, the local canine constable, also loved Krazy, and tried to protect her by attempting to catch Ignatz at his various criminal activities and throw him in jail. The eternal love triangle, with all the confusion, humor, violence and pathos, played out against the surrealistic setting of Coconino County, Arizona, land of the Grand Canyon. Krazy website: http://www.krazy.com/ Animated http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcmfe0F6vVA&feature=related
    9. 9. 20th Century Industrialisation: George Herriman
    10. 12. 20th Century Industrialisation: UK Growth of Children’s Comics Publishing Comics for young children (Nursery Comics) didn’t start being published until the early years of the twentieth century. Rainbow (1914 - 1956) is generally accepted as the first children’s comic although Puck (1904 - 1940) did have a junior section after issue eleven and, within 3 issues, had become a children’s comic.
    11. 13. 20th Century Industrialisation: Amalgamated Press Comics were increasingly associated with children and this led to both greater social and legal furor about the affects of their content. Amalgamated Press were first to cash in, transforming their pass é adult ‘ Comic Cuts’ etc with many kids titles including Jingles, Jolly, My Favorites, Crackers and Happy Days. They featured ‘funny animals’ and younger characters. Due to worries about their readers’ literacy, AP continued to use old-fashioned captions rather than speech balloons until the 30s AP also kept price down by heavily exploiting all involved in their production.
    12. 14. 20th Century Industrialisation: DC Thomson AP were not threatened by competitors until D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd, based in Dundee, Scotland, began publishing The Beano and The Dandy . They also well known for producing Oor Wullie , The Broons , and Commando comics. Beano’s iconic characters such as Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx, and The Bash Street Kids have become known to generations of British (& empire) children. The success of these comics was based on more fluid story and joke telling (eg use of speech balloons).
    13. 15. 20th Century Industrialisation: DC Thomson The Dandy fist appeared in 1937. Prior to The Dandy Comic , childrens comics were broadsheet in size and not very colourful. This is to take nothing away from their content, but when compared to The Dandy Comic , and later on, The Beano Comic and The Magic Comic , these broadsheets looked rather staid in comparison. The Dandy was also unusual in that many of the characters reflected the Depression origins of the comic -- working class, anti-rich fat cats, and obsessed with food. These character traits remained standard for many characters throughout the comic’s history. The Dandy can also lay claim to being the first British comic to have its very own Super-Hero. 1944 The Amazing Mr X. Firmly based on Superman, our mild-mannered private enquiry agent, Len Manners, whipped off his spectacles, and whipped on his skin-tight black trousers, white top with the red 'X' on it and donned his black mask. He then flew off to save and help anyone in distress. Len only lasted for 14 issues and was replaced by Dudley Watkins', Danny Long Legs.
    14. 16. 20th Century Industrialisation: DC Thomson
    15. 17. 20th Century Industrialisation: British Isolationism US comics were not officially distributed in the UK until 1959 -- although there was a children’s ‘Black Market’ of illegal imports. This helped ensure the success of UK comics. There were however UK editions of US titles. The most popular was Mickey Mouse Weekly distributed from 1936 onwards
    16. 18. 20th Century Industrialisation: British Adventure It took a long time for comic publishers to realise that other content than humour could be successful. The first big success, tho’ there were earlier illustrated narrative adventure publications during the 20s-30 ( Hotspur, Rover, Wizard), was after WWII. The Eagle was weekly comic, which ran in two main incarnations over the period of 1950 to 1994 (with accompanying annuals). It is strongly associated with its flagship character, ‘Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future’, (created and illustrated by Frank Hampson in the earlier photogravure format), doing battle against the Mekon and other interplanetary foes. In the gender gap tradition of the Amalgamated Press's weekly story papers dating from the 1920s, more gender-oriented adventure comics followed. Magnet for boys, Schoolgirls Own for girls, followed post-war by comics such as Lion , Tiger {boys} and School Friend {girls}, the Eagle and Girl (1951 – 1964), clearly aimed at different markets.
    17. 19. 20th Century Industrialisation: Adventure for girls The Eagle spawned a host of sister comics as the publishers realised that there was a whole new market there. These tended to revolve around school hijinks, mysteries and ponies. It wasn’t until the 60s that romance reared its ugly, but very popular head.
    18. 20. 20th Century Industrialisation: The fortunes of a girls comic title School Friend was around long before the 1950s - in fact, it was first published in 1919. However, it folded after about fifteen years, and was re-launched in 1950. Its most enduring legacies were the Storyteller, the pipe-smoking teller of spooky stories and Bessie Bunter, the sister of Billy Bunter. Bessie Bunter is the guzzler of Cliff House boarding school. Her brain (of which she shows nothing of in her schoolwork) is always coming up with sneaky ideas to swipe food, dodge classes, or raise money. Bessie and the Storyteller were so popular that they survived two merges - School Friend merging with June, then June with Tammy. When Misty merged with Tammy in 1980, Bessie shifted from a regular weekly to a character to be seen "from time to time." When Jinty merged with Tammy in 1981, Bessie's days were well and truly numbered, along with the Storyteller, Wee Sue (from the 1973 Sandie merge) and Molly Mills, who had been with Tammy from the first issue.
    19. 21. 20th Century Industrialisation: The fortunes of a girls comic title