The Art of the Funnies: An Aesthetic History (Studies in Popular Culture (Paperback))

The Art of the Funnies: An Aesthetic History (Studies in Popular Culture (Paperback))

Robert C. Harvey

Language: English

Pages: 252

ISBN: 0878056742

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This work examines the comic strip throughout its history for the elements that make cartoons one of the most appealing of the popular arts. The comic strip was created by rival newspapers as a device in their circulation battles. It quickly established itself as not only an effective device, but also as an institution that soon spread to newspapers world-wide. This historical study unfolds the history of the funnies and reveals the subtle art of how the strips blend word and pictures to make their impact. The book also unearths new information and weighs the influence of syndication upon the medium. Milestones in the art of cartooning featured include: Mutt and Jeff, Dick Tracy, Tarzan, Flash Gordon, Popeye, Krazy Kat, and others. More recent classics are also included, such as Peanuts, Tumbleweeds, Doonesbury and Calvin and Hobbes.




















Caniff's work and the achievement it represents in so many departments of creating an adventure strip is monumental. He touched every aspect of the art of the  adventure strip, and every place he touched, he improved. Yet he remained a modest, even self­effacing, man all his life. Pressed in a 1978 interview by Canadian  cartoonist Arn Saba, however, he confessed this much: "I think I have taken as great an advantage as I could out of everything that was within my range. I'm not the

themselves in complete obliviousness to the disaster building under their very noses. A few months later, on September 10, McCay launched Dream of the Rarebit Fiend, a feature almost as celebrated today as Nemo. Here the cartoonist engaged in  another kind of playfulness with his medium. In each installment of the strip, its protagonist (a different person every week) is depicted in the throes of a nightmare

suspicious of the countess and her "father," the duke, but shortly after the ship docks in New York, Easy disappears, apparently leaving Wash to his fate. The countess  and the duke are actually wife and husband, partners in whatever confidence game comes to hand. Just as they finish separating Wash from his fortune, Easy returns,  telling Wash he's spent the interval investigating the countess and her husband. But before Easy can retrieve Wash's money, the duke is found dead by the railroad

story). This earliest crop of wholly serious adventure strips earned a niche for the genre on the comics page, but it took Harold Foster to show how adventure stories  should be rendered. Foster's Tarzan was introduced on the same day as Buck Rogers, but there ended the similarity of the strips. At first, Tarzan was simply an illustrated version of

Some years after the strip's debut, Caniff attempted a novel about his characters, and in it he fleshed out the relationship between Terry and Pat: "Pat had found Terry  on the docks of San Francisco, a lonely little orphan living as best he could from day to day, in an old piano box. [Pat was] an orphan himself with no family ties, [and]  the boy's loneliness appealed to the older man: he forthwith 'adopted' Terry. The two have been together ever since."2

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