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
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
example George McManus' "The Newlyweds" (1904) and "Bringing Up Father"
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
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
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
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"
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.
||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.
Like most of
the comic artists, George
Evans gave his undivided
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
(Oliver Twist orJulius
he turned to the western
beginning of the 60s.
last years he took over
the figur "Secret
Agent X-9", which
he is still
with "Brenda Starr" (1940).
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
which knew how to save
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
Since 1950 there has been a trend towards short and funny stories -
mostly drawn with three to five pictures - which were printed in newspapers.
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.
||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.
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 1962 he returned to
his homeland where he
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