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History of the Comic Strip

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Fourth Printing, January, 1972, Paperback

The earliest beginnings of the comic strip can be traced to the fifteenth century, but it was not until the end of the nineteenth century that the strip, as we know it today, was born.

A History of the Comic Strip has been prepared in conjunction with the first international exhibition of comic art held at the Louvre in Paris. Already a best seller in France, it is fully illustrated with all the memorable and noteworthy types and trends of comic art and tells the entire story of the development of the comic strip, particularly in America where the most dynamic progress has occurred.

All the great milestones are covered--the first daily comic ("Mr. A. Mutt" in 1907); the first animated cartoon of merit ("Gertie the Dinosaur" in 1909); the division between the "entertainers" and the "thinkers," expressing two divergent views of the purpose of comic art; the advent of the "adventure strip"--Tarzan, Superman, Dick Tracy, Flash Gordon, Prince Valiant; the first comic book in 1933 (Funnies on Parade, a promotion stunt by Proctor & Gamble Company); the propaganda role played by the comics during World War II: as Joe Palooka joined the army, Tarzan battled with the Nazi commandos, Captain Easy foiled enemy intrigue around the globe, and Dick Tracy and Charlie Chan fought against spies and saboteurs. The alteration and expansion of the strip caused by the development of the syndicated comic strip is fully discussed as is the new era born after the war--peopled with "Peanuts," "Miss Peach," "The Wizard of Id," and the strip's first antihero: Bernard Mergendeiler, created by Jules Feiffer.

All of the best-loved comic strip characters are included--"Little Orphan Annie," "Alley Oop," "Mary Worth," "Popeye," "Buster Brown," "L'il Abner," "The Katenjammer Kids," and the many corresponding national favorites of the countries of Europe. The creators of these and other comic characters and series are discussed, and attention is given to the influences on each, the material they drew upon, and the forms and styles they used. A thorough examination of the people who read the strips and why.

Hundreds of illustrations combine with a lively text to make A History of the Comic Strip absorbing reading for anyone.

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