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

By Robert C. Harvey

This paintings examines the sketch all through its heritage for the weather that make cartoons essentially the most attractive of the preferred arts. The sketch was once created by way of rival newspapers as a tool of their move battles. It fast tested itself as not just a good equipment, but in addition as an establishment that quickly unfold to newspapers world-wide. This old research unfolds the historical past of the funnies and divulges the sophisticated artwork of ways the strips combination note and photographs to make their influence. The ebook additionally reveals new info and weighs the effect of syndication upon the medium. Milestones within the paintings of cartooning featured contain: Mutt and Jeff, Dick Tracy, Tarzan, Flash Gordon, Popeye, Krazy Kat, and others. newer classics also are incorporated, resembling Peanuts, Tumbleweeds, Doonesbury and Calvin and Hobbes.

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With a  flagrance that echoed the flamboyance of his paper's headlines, Hearst rented an office in the World building, and from there he raided Pulitzer's staff, starting with  Morrill Goddard. Recognizing the value of a sparkling Sunday edition, Hearst offered Goddard a fabulous salary that Pulitzer couldn't counter. When Goddard  protested that his staff of writers and artists were integral to his success, Hearst hired them, too—including Outcault. Knowing that a good color comic section would  boost Sunday circulation, Hearst quickly put Goddard's artists to work, creating the eight­page American Humorist in October 1896. Testifying to the appeal of  Outcault's creation, the Journal, on the Saturday before the American Humorist's debut, promised ''The Yellow Kid—Tomorrow! day after today! " And the next day,  October 18, there he was—two­tooth grin and bilious shirtfront rampant. Pulitzer bribed Outcault back into the World's fold briefly, but Hearst ultimately outbid him, and Outcault was his. So was the Yellow Kid—but not exclusively. Pulitzer hired another artist, George Luks, to continue drawing Hogan's Alley (starring the Yellow Kid) for the Sunday World. Circulation drives for both papers  splashed the Yellow Kid and his vacant grin on posters all over town. Thus, Outcault's hapless waif became the most conspicuous combatant in the circulation battle. Those watching the warfare from the sidelines took to calling the two papers "the Yellow Kid journals" or "the yellow journals. " And the kind of journalism the warring  papers practiced was, perforce, "yellow journalism. " 1   The legacy of the Yellow Kid has thus proved a mixed blessing, a triumph whose tawdry connections tainted the future of the comics medium even while asserting its  riveting appeal. That the first character of American comics should have his chromatic signature appropriated by a journalistic movement was ample testimony to the  power and popularity of the comics. But because that movement was wholly commercial, embodying repre­      Page 7 hensible ethics and sensational appeals to baser emotions, the new art form was associated with only the lower orders of rational endeavor—a circumstance that cast a  shadow for a long time over any claims made for artistic merit and intellectual content in the funnies. How could anything that first surfaced in the jaundiced columns of  the sensational press hold any interest for respectable, thinking readers? Beginning with the Yellow Kid, the comics enjoyed a prized position in newspapering. They sold papers. And that was a vital consideration in the industry at the time. Until the 1920s most cities that had a daily newspaper were served by more than one paper. In 1900 915 American cities had daily newspapers, and 559 of them (61  percent) had competing dailies; in 1910 the numbers were 1,207 and 689 (57 percent). The number of cities with competing daily papers continued to climb until it  peaked just before World War I; but by 1920 the number had dropped back to 552, by then only 43 percent of the cities served by daily newspapers.

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