Hey Mike (I know you're out there)- are you going to tell everyone on Eddie's blog what Burlesque and Vaudeville did to influence this stuff?I like what he called them today, "The Saddies!!!"
Why was the coloring so much more interesting and warm and inviting in these than in today's funnies and comic books?Most things today are dark, murky, overly modeled and totally obscure the line work. And also comics coloring is bad.
There are ZERO comics in the papers worth reading, and 3-4 webcomics worth checking out at most. Im not going to mention the whole pretentious graphic novel fantagraphics Art Spiegelman "sequential comiX" sceneToo bad most of the attempts at comics Ive read by artists I admire have terrible writing
Check out "Ham and Eggs" by genius Mike Kunkel to see what I mean, or any attempts at creating a syndicated comic by top rate artists
That wasnt meant as a shot at John K, I think hes hilarious, more guys like Glen Keane who can draw like hell but have kind of a "lame" sense of humor, Its meant as a shot at all the artists who bemoan the fact that the syndicates reject their brilliant cartoons and When I read them theyre really lame single panel gags like a marriage counselor telling a mime couple "you should try talking more" and "happy animal gang!" type strips that have no edge to them at all
Hello Eddie,I am a creative director at www.aniboom.com , a new user generated video site dedicated to animation content.Id love to hear what you think of the site, so please contact me to for4(at)aniboom.com for any thoughts questions or suggestion you may have. Cheers
Eddie, I'd hate for every comment on here to be off-topic, BUT...Tim Kelly put up an amazing animated sequence from an old Filmation Mighty Mouse scene on his blog, and Kent Butterworth has a great paragraph about you and the studio system.http://timkellyscartoonblog.blogspot.com/2006/11/blog-post.htmlToo bad they didn't let you do that more often!
that "atila the ham" thing kent butterworth has is another example of extremely talented artist/bad writing
The comics thing is interesting.From 1900s to somewhere around 1950s, the comics was brilliant, from 1960s and beyond, it went sorta lame to pure suckiness. It got better lately, though, starting with 1980s, with the introduction of "Calvin and Hobbes", "Bloom County", "Far Side", "Get Fuzzy", and "The Piranha Club" (definatly check out the last one). It's not perfect, but today's comics is better than 1960s, at least ( I should know. I have read several strips from that era)
what really bugs me are the pretentious art school postmodern "comics historian" types like Bill griffiths and Art Spiegelman who write these glowing articles about shit comics like Nancy and Gasoline Alley and only make passing references to true works of genius like Calvin and Hobbes and The far side
Ernie Bushmiller proudly stated he got all of his gags from the Sears catalog.
theres a lot of web cartoonists today that would do well to read John K's Blog. I keep hearing about these "hilarious webcomics" and for the most part theyre just two guys standing straight up and down with no backgrounds having really dumb "philosophical" conversations.Pbfcomics.com penny-arcade.com marriedtothesea.com, only webcomics I have any desire to read ever again.If you really want a laugh check out comicssherpa.com its a freaking graveyard for amateur cartoonists
Hi, Eddie This stuff is beautiful! Is there a new book that's printing some of these old pages? The color separation work on this is so cool. Blogger's images are so tiny, I can't see any of the details, so I want to see more!I have a theory about why Comics were better back then:In the early 20th Century, (as today) many Americans were functionally illiterate - but they were able to "read" the funnies (As Boss Tweed was well aware) So newspapers were sold to the non-literate public based upon the appeal of the comics. As a result, cartoonists were extremely valuable assets of the newspaper staff (you could replace an editor, but how could you replace "Happy Hooligan"?) Cartoonists like Bud Fisher, Tad Dorgan, (who was assisted by a very young Milt Gross) or FB Opper, were highly paid celebrities - these were the kind of guys who could take the entire team of the New York Yankees to lunch - they were friends of politicians, writers and the cream of society. Through the '30s & '40s comics continued to sell newspapers as semi-literate newspaper buyers were riveted by the adventures of Orphan Annie & Dick Tracy. Then in the '50s television came on the scene, and here was a new source of information & entertainment for illiterate Americans. The ill-educated stopped buying newspapers, and hence the status of top cartoonists dropped. No longer was top talent attracted to the newspaper business - they went on to more lucrative fields like advertising - selling cigarettes and beer to illiterate Americans on a scale unimaginable by newspapers of old.On the tangent topic:I wonder where "Anonymous" obtained a copy of my film "Attila and the Great Blue Bean" for thoughtful review. Marvista has not yet released the picture - Hmmm -
just saw the poster, that was enough to get the picture
you really come off as a pretentious asshole in that post too, "illiterate americans" "hence"
"cream of society"
looks like youve had quite a career too, worked yourself up to artistic director on american pie band camp and Lepracaun 2
I cant even look at the comics page anymore. I get so angry! Syndications accept only 2 or 3 new comic strips per year! It would seem like this is a very prestigious and competitive industry. And look at the comics in there! 99% crap. After Calvin and Hobbes, the only good cartoonist in the funny pages is Jim Borgman. All the other ones are "classic" strips with new writers and artists taking it over. Id like to see some brand new strips from actual artists! The new strips that do make it in look like they were drawn by 3rd graders. How do you create a cartoon strip if you cant draw?
These are works of art. The colors and the style are really appealing. One of the things that strikes me about the comics of yesteryear is it looks like there was a lot of work and effort put into them. Even the text is stylized. I can also see where they're similar to the Sears catalogs of yesteryear.
>>Is there a new book that's printing some of these old pages? <<Hey Kent,There's a really good book called 100 Years of Comic strips. It's a big thick book, and the comics are reprinted on big colorful pages. It's probably the greatest book ever printed about comic strips. I can bring it over when I see you this week, or here's a link if you want check it out before then:http://www.amazon.com/Years-Comic-Strips-Bill-Blackbeard/dp/0760761051/sr=8-1/qid=1164746670/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-3053745-2131236?ie=UTF8&s=books
HEY EDDIE,BLOCK ANONYMOUS COMMENTS!
For most of the first half of the 20th century, drawings were reproduced by a photographic-lithographic process that produced a high degree of fidelity to the original drawing. This was in part because the cartoon would be engraved (in reverse) onto a block of steel. Herbert Block describes getting some cartoons back from the engraving shop at the Washington Post neatly wrapped around the steel block.In addition, the inks used to make colour Sunday comics were distinctly different in formulation; to my knowledge, these inks haven't been used since the 1970s, because of changes in printing technology.Which means, as an aside, that putting a block of Silly Putty on the Sunday funnies doesn't pick up the image like it used to.
I would also recommend Canemaker's book on Winsor McCay, or any of the collections of McCay's "Little Nemo"/"In the Land of Wonderful Dreams" Sunday pages. Also: any of Geo. Herriman's "Krazy Kat" Sunday pages from the 30s. Both strips made very inventive use of colour, and pushed the limits as to what could be done, at least in terms of design. (Herriman was a much better writer than McCay, of course.)
I agree in part and dissent in part from Kent Butterworth's comments.(1) One reason that newspapers in the 1890s and 1900s splurged on colour comics and drawings was that it represented brand-new technology at that time. Prior to that time, photographs and drawings were generally not seen in daily newspapers, because only weekly newspapers (e.g., Harper's Weekly, the home of Thomas Nast) had the time to prepare the drawings. Compare a 1906 newspaper with an 1886 newspaper and the differences will pop out at you.(2) As of 1895-1905, remember, there was a huge number of immigrants who could not speak English; this was the era of waves of immigration from Italy and Eastern Europe, to places like New York, which was the home of the heated World v. Journal comic rivalry. Even more than someone native who couldn't read English, these immigrants would have been attracted to something large and colourful that didn't totally require language skills to understand.(3) One problem of the decline of comics is directly tied to the decline in newspapers, which predated television (though TV accelerated the process). The combination of radio and the Great Depression killed off many newspapers, with the result that diversity and variety in the comics got increasingly harder to come by.(4) As a corollary to this, in the last fifty years, there has been little turnover in the comics, in spite of the fact that many strips have ceased being all that fresh. B.C., the Family Circus, Wizard of Id, Beetle Bailey, Hi and Lois, Peanuts (still being run) and others all had their genesis in the 50s or early 60s, yet are on their second or third artists. This stunts the growth of new comic strips, who can't break into the ranks, because of the small number of publishing papers. Vicious circle.
If I ever met the 3rd generation artists who make strips like blondie and nancy I wouldnt even feign politeness, id flat out insult them
This book is a good place to start learning about old strips.
kent: The book is, "The World on Sunday" by Baker and Brentano.
Eric, I'm not sure I agree with you on that third point. I think most people would agree that the depression era through WWII were the golden age of newspaper strips, most of them were so popular, there were radio versions (like Little Orphan Annie) movie versions(like Flash Gordon,Buck Rogers,Blondie, Dick Tracy and Lil'Abner, and many, many others)like comic books, newspaper comics were the cheapest (and most portable) form of entertainment available,and most newspapers traded on the popularity of their comic strips in order to boost subscription sales. I think the comics officially died in the early seventies when Walt Kelly('s wife) and Al Capp retired. after that, everyone seemed to gravitate away from strips with great detailed art and long continuing storylines, and started to do mainly 4 or 3 panel strips with little or no continuity. Artwise,there was a move to to the simpler art style of Peanuts and Beetle Bailey and as a result, the comics pages became less interesting to look at. I don't if this caused or was caused by the practice of shrinking the comics page, but by the late seventies, with a few exceptions, the comic strip as an art form had fallen into a coma.(Calvin and Hobbes being one of those exceptions, of course.)
I think that the art in peanuts is much subtler and profound than anything Al Cap drew
To each his own. Schulz was definitly in a class by himself, but when you go for the simpler style minus the profundity, you get vaccuuous crap like Garfield.At least Capp was fun to look at.
I agree, comparing Schulz to Jim Davis is like comparing a great Jazz musician who plays slow simple harmonies on purpose to someone who can barely an instrument
theres a top 100 comics list on planetcartoonist.com thats absolutely vapid, its written by a moron named wc harvey
Well, anything is better than Doonesbury
What about The Adventures of Nemo in Dreamland?That's a famous one.
haha I cant stand doonesbury anymore, I pray to god that one legged soldier gets run over by a bus and at least his strips will have a punchline rather than those sappy "poignant" endings hes been going for.Bill watterson summed up my feelings on nemo quite nicely "amazing art, bland writing"
Great article! Thanks.
Thanks for interesting article.
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