Emily R LBHP Essay

Submitted By Emmaleunicorn
Words: 1278
Pages: 6

Where did stories first start? Around campfires, retelling the days events? The first writings were pictures, or pictures with writing. Sequential art was the first form of storytelling, shown in the Lascaux caves, in the Trojan wall and the Bayeux tapestry. (Wikipedia1) But where did comics go from there? The art form was there, but comics did not pick up speed and popularity until 1896, although there had been comics in popular media before then, such as Benjamin Franklin’s “Unite or Die” considered to be the first political cartoon. (Ills. History) But comics did not take of as a method of story telling until 1896 with the introduction of The Yellow Kid, Little Nemo in Slumberland, and many others. The Yellow Kid was the most important of the comics in this era, as it proved that comics would both sell and be sold in newspapers, giving it a shove forward as a popular method of media.(Ills.His.) After it be came a popular form of media in the newspapers the genres exploded, making comics both accessible and for all audiences. Here, the lines between comic strip and comic book became blurred. Take this side-by-side comparison for example, on the left you have a page that is reminiscent of the older comic strip pages, and on the right you see more detail in the line work, fewer shots and a more engaging format. (Ills.Fomat) This is not to say that comic strips do not have an engaging style, but the format works better for a gag a day strips than to a full-fledged graphic novel. In fact many of the older newspaper comics often had a written portion at the end, a tradition that is still seen in comics such as Marmaduke. (Marmaduke)
Next is by far the most well known, the Golden, Silver, Bronze Age of comics books, spreading from 1956 to 1985. Or perhaps more fittingly, the age of the superheroes. The archetype of the superhero was defined, polished, and turned out some of the most well known comic characters of the history of comics. Namely, we have Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman (courtesy of DC), Captain America, and Captain Marvel. (Thanks to the namesake of the latter) And although the stories were compelling the characters were rather cookie cutter until Jack Kirby and Stan Lee stepped starting the silver age. The Silver age saved the genre of superheroes by ridding it of the flawless characters and giving them more personal traits making them more believable characters.
In fact, Kirby broke every rule of superheroes and thus, created a better comic. (Making Comics) The Bronze Age took both the Silver and Gold ages and blended them into something new. Where the Silver age had more complex characters, the Golden age had socially relevant plot, making the story stories much more compelling then the were before. Superheroes were not the only ones center stage at this point in time. There were also many fantasy and historical comics making their way to mainstream culture. Namely; Sandman and Maus. Maus was a breakthrough comic at the time, as it told a true story of the authors’ father during WWII. Sandman was critically acclaimed for its stories, written by Neil Gaiman. Both help push the comic envelope and helped the genre forward.
Now on to the most recent and diverse ages of comics, the Internet age. The Internet is an interesting publisher, as it costs nothing to post and it is available for (almost) free viewing at almost anytime. But where did the Internet get popular as a publisher where print started to diminish? Well, for starters the early web comics weren’t amateurs looking for fun. They were profession comic artists that wanted to branch out. Or, in the case of Girl Genius, it started as a print comic, and then quickly adapted to a web format. Girl Genius has also won 3 consecutive Hugo awards, the first winners in the graphic story category. After Girl Genius, Digger, another web comic, went on to win the Hugo. Digger, unlike Girl Genius, was solely in web format until after completion. (Wikipedia2)…