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John A. Lent

Subject Art
Communication Studies » Visual and Non-verbal Communication

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Comics, either in the form of newspaper strips (funnies) or comic books, combine text and images to carry a narrative or a joke. Although semblances of comics can be found in Egyptian Pharanoic art, thousand-year-old Indian, Japanese, and Chinese scrolls, eighteenth-century Japanese kibyoshi (yellow books), and thirteenth-century European book illustrations, the nineteenth century is normally credited as their birth date. Strips by Rodolphe Töpffer appeared in Switzerland in 1827, and by Wilhelm Busch a few decades later in Germany, but it was in the US that newspaper comics flourished, especially after New York newspaper publishers William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer used them to lure readers in the 1890s. After The yellow kid , usually considered the first US strip, was created in 1895, several hundred new funnies were started during the next five years. These early comics left their imprints on American society, inspiring other literary and art forms, adding to the English lexicon, and even affecting women's →  fashion. They also became favorite reading fare abroad, where they were reprinted or cloned, and later replaced by indigenous comics. Some early comic strip adopters were Canada (1901), Japan (1902), Australia (1907), Korea (1914), the UK (1915), and Argentina (1916). By the 1920s, local comic strips appeared in newspapers in China, Sweden, the Netherlands, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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