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  • mistermuse 5:05 pm on May 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , newspaper comics, Wm. Randolph Hearst   

    A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE SMITHSONIAN 

    ….and that thing was in all the papers (almost all, anyway — there were a few party poopers in those days, most notably the New York Times). But by then (as noted in my three-part series, FUNNY ON PAPER), the “funnies” had grown from its late-1800s beginnings to 1930s newspaper staple/big business; few papers could afford not to carry a comics section.

    In FUNNY ON PAPER,  we saw the “state of the art” in 1933. To put that snapshot in perspective, we need the history of the comics both before and after that moment in time. For the broader picture, let us turn to a book published in the 1970s especially for that purpose, THE SMITHSONIAN COLLECTION OF NEWSPAPER COMICS, from which I quote the following:

    The elements of the American comic strip were already there. A succession of drawings expressing a continuous action, an anecdotal event, a narrative — they are as old as cave paintings. “Talk balloons” were fairly common in 18th century caricature, and graphic caricature was fairly commonplace by the mid-19th century. British “comic papers” were captioned cartoon narratives, usually in broad burlesque, largely derived from the conventions of circus clowning and the music hall-vaudeville sketch.
    It remained for the United States, then entering fully into its own era of mass communications, to put all these elements together and make something new of them, something new and compelling and so irresistible that it spread (along with our movies and music) around the world. 

    So, what and when was the first U.S. comic strip? The Little Bears is generally considered to be the first American strip with recurring characters (in Wm. Randolph Hearst’s San Francisco Examiner); it ran only four years (1892-96). The first to attain definitve form on a weekly page was Richard Outcault’s Yellow Kid for Hearst’s Sunday comic supplement to the New York Journal on October 18, 1896. Weekday comic strips began in Hearst morning and afternoon newspapers across the country in the early 1900s.

    But the first hugely popular strip was The Katzenjammer Kids (“The Hangover Kids” in German slang of the time) created by German immigrant Rudolph Dirks for the same Hearst New York Journal supplement; it has turned out to be the longest-running comic strip in history (1897 to present). It was also the first to combine comic strip continuity and talk baloons, and the first to use now-familiar iconography such as stars for pain.

    TO BE CONTINUED

     

     
    • Don Frankel 3:16 pm on May 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      You know Muse, facebook, cave wall drawings and comic strips. Maybe only the venue changes.

      Like

    • mistermuse 4:34 pm on May 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      No doubt some of those cave dwellers could’ve been the comic strip cartoonists of today had they been born 40,000 years later. Come to think of it, you and I could’ve been cave dwellers had we been born 40,000 years earlier. I guess timing is everything.

      Like

  • mistermuse 10:01 am on May 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Boob McNutt, Buck Rogers, , , , , , Joe Palooka, , Krazy Kat, Little Orphan Annie, Mickey Mouse, , newspaper comics, , , ,   

    FUNNY ON PAPER (PART THREE) 

    Comic strip

     The first two installments in this series were devoted primarily to statistics/the funnies’ business side (Part One) and profiles of two “colorful characters” (Part Two) of the 1933 comic strip world, based on a 1933 magazine article. Part Three will wrap up this article by asking you to imagine you’ve just awakened to find that you’re becoming a 1933 cartoon character, and you need to find out fast who your comics cohorts are, and what they’re up to.

    So you’re looking to be filled in, but drawing a blank.
    You wonder, “Am I still dreaming? Is this a prank?”
    Relax, my good man/gal, you have nothing to fear —
    You are among friends, as you can see here:

    MUTT & JEFF
    BARNEY GOOGLE
    DICK TRACY
    HAIRBREADTH HARRY
    LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE

    BOOB McNUTT
    THE GUMPS
    MOON MULLINS
    GASOLINE ALLEY
    WINNIE WINKLE

    TARZAN
    POLLY & HER PALS
    KATZENJAMMER KIDS
    KRAZY KAT
    SKIPPY
    BLONDIE

    TOONERVILLE FOLKS
    THE BUNGLE FAMILY
    POPEYE
    MAJOR HOOPLE (OUR BOARDING HOUSE)
    MICKEY MOUSE

    COUNT SCREWLOOSE
    BUNKY
    BUCK ROGERS
    MAGGIE & JIGGS (BRINGING UP FATHER)
    JOE PALOOKA

    Alas, the 1933 magazine article assumes that its readers know all about these characters, and so we will have to turn elsewhere to find out what they’re up to. As it happens, your faithful correspondent owns exactly the elsewhere to turn to: a book titled THE SMITHSONIAN COLLECTION OF NEWSPAPER COMICS. That’s next.

     

     
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