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Shortview of the comic history

As the USA is regarded as the country of origin of today's comic, this short report is mainly concerned with the USA. Obviously there were great pioneering feats in Europe too, but this would be outside the domain of this report.

It is difficult to define the birth of the comic, certainly a clear indication of time is impossible. You could call the drawings of Wilhelm Busch for his "Max & Moritz" a comic, just as the pictures drawn by the story narrators in the Middle Ages, who roamed from city to city and recited and sang 

Gus Arriola (1917)
His first graphics were taken seriously by 
MGM, where he worked on animated cartoons.
A few years later he decided to become a cartoonist.
When in 1941 for the first time he set down on paper the serial 
"Gordo", he created a cartoon classic which went down as a masterpiece
in the history of newspaper comic strips. His works distinguish them- 
elves with a warm-hearted humour, which he shown in exemplary 
rawings with a fantastic shading effect. When finally "Gordo"
could no longer fascinate the modern public he stopped 
work for his serial in 1985 (it run only in 30 
newspapers). For 43 years "Gordo" had 
held his readers spellbound.
verses of different stories. 
It was finally decided to regard the first successful printed pictures in a newspaper as the birth of the comic.
As pioneer of the comic we can then consider the publisher Joseph Pulitzer, who from 16. February 1896 published the serial "The Yellow Kid"- drawn by Richard Felton Outcult (1863-1928) - and caused a dramatic stir among his readers.
However the name "comic" was only introduced some years later on the basis of the mainly comical content of the stories. 
At the beginning of this century the first family serial came into fashion, for 
Original drawing of Gus Arriola
example George McManus' "The Newlyweds" (1904) and "Bringing Up Father" (1913). 
Already early on the comics had begun to react to their social environment. The introduction of votes for women in 1920 produced a regular boom of female cartoons such as "Winnie Winkler" (1920) or "Tillie the Toiler" (1921).
Original Drawing of George Evans Animal comics had not spread very much at this time. Only in 1923, when Pat Sullivan tried to receive more popularity for Felix the Cat and decided to crystallize the figure from his animation movies into the comic. This succeeded very well and he launched a very successful genre that lasts until today.  In 1930 Walt Disney followed him on this way and committed his animation star Mickey Mouse to paper, later followed "Silly Simphonies" from which he took Donald Duck as a new star. 
In 1929 a great change took place. The first adventure comics had been created and enriched most comical stories till then with further perspectives.
Tarzan was born and the science-fiction figure Buck Rogers, in 1936 followed the hero "The Phantom" by Lee Falk. 
The comic covered now all spheres possible.
George Evans (1920-2001)
Like most of 
the comic artists, George
Evans gave his undivided attention
to his passion very early.At the age of
16 he published his first stories. He had a 
huge talent and soon worked for several comic
companies on serials like "Tigerman", Air Heroes", "Captain
Video" and "Aces High". In the latter serial he told 
one of his best stories. Later he shifted his 
activity to the so-called classic-comics
(Oliver Twist orJulius Cäsar), before
he turned to the western at the 
beginning of the 60s. In the
last years he took over
the figur "Secret
Agent X-9", which
he is still
drawing.
In 1931 together with Chester Gould's "Dick Tracy" the detective comic arose fast. Astonishingly the western experienced great difficulties in finding a widespread public, but instead at the end of the 30s the super heroes took the public by storm. Superman was already born in 1938.
Reg Smythe (1917-1998)
Reg Smythe startet his career at the end of the 40s drawing
caricatures. In the 50s he shifted his work more and 
more to the comic strips. When he called "Andy 
Capp" into life in 1957 he found a huge 
public very soon. The figure,
which knew how to save himself from
any situation with his brazen sayings is printed
regularly today. However Smythe's succession comic
"Buster, Son of Andy Capp" was not granted a success.

The first step to a millionaire as a comic artist was managed by Sidney Smith. He began his career with "The Gumps", which brought in the first million-dollar contract in comic history.
In 1935 he renewed his contract for five more years which assured him moreover of $ 150'000 yearly. But on the return journey after this signing he was killed in an accident.
After World War II the "soap operas" had been very successful. Preparatory work was accomplished by Mary Orr with "Mary Worth" (1932) and Dale Messick
Original drawing of Reg Smythe
with "Brenda Starr" (1940).
Since 1950 there has been a trend towards short and funny stories - mostly drawn with three to five pictures - which were printed in newspapers. 
Original drawing of Hugo Pratt A trend which is still constant and displaced most of the other kinds of comic.

One of the classic figures is "The Peanuts", created by Charles Schulz; in 1970 "Broom-Hilda" by Russell Myers came along and in 1973 "Hagar the Horrible" by Dik Browne followed and last but not least in 1978 "Garfield" by Jim Davis.

As a collector of signed pictures of comic artists it is not so easy to get to original drawings by the cartoonist or comic artist himself. Either you have to pay tremendous amounts to dealers or you can try to write to the artist direct. But this is much more difficult than to receive a mere signature of an actor. Don't forget, most of the drawings sent are of good quality and demand a lot of time from an artist, normally between three to fifteen minutes.

Hugo Pratt (1928-1995)
Pratt counts as one of the great artist of the comic world.
Many of his comics became cult figures. Pratt began his first 
rawings in Italy with "Asso di Picche" (1949) and
Junglemen" (1949). In 1950 he received an offer from
Argentina and from then on he worked for the
publisher "Abril" in Buenos Aires. By 1960 
he had created seven albums. Afterwards he moved
to the Fleetway publisher in London.
In 1962 he returned to his homeland where he
translated well-known novels into comics (David Balfour, 
reasure Isalnd). When in 1967 the magazine "Sgt. Kirk" was 
ounded, which concentrated exclusively on the extensive 
work of Hugo Pratt, he contributed to a novel which 
featured for the first time the legendary figure 
"Corto Maltese". In the following years this
figur became the focused point of his work. 
Pratt always lent his stories a touch of 
authenticity, which made them 
so appealing.
That means you have to come up with a special idea in order to prompt the artist to such a great expenditure of time. The success rate stays small as expected but so much more you enjoy each original drawing obtained. Four of them are shown here.