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Week/Module 1: The History of Comics

by: Amber Garduño

Week/Module 1: The History of Comics ILL 195

Marketplace > Academy of Art University > Illustration > ILL 195 > Week Module 1 The History of Comics
Amber Garduño
Academy of Art University
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The very beginning of comic history starting with "The Yellow Kid". In this week, we'll explore Outcault's strips, "The Katzenjammer Kids", McMay, and other great beginnings.
History of Comics: American Comics
Mr. Kevin Robinette
Class Notes
american, comics, history, McCay, Outcault




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This 12 page Class Notes was uploaded by Amber Garduño on Wednesday September 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ILL 195 at Academy of Art University taught by Mr. Kevin Robinette in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 9 views. For similar materials see History of Comics: American Comics in Illustration at Academy of Art University.

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Date Created: 09/07/16
Week 1: The History of Comics Quiz (USED FOR TARGETED STUDY REFERENCE ONLY!) 1) Polly and Her Pals influenced the start-up of many new independent, single women- and girl- type daily strips. (T/F) 2) The Katzenjammer Kids twins, Hans and Fritz, have been considered knockoffs of Germany's Max und Moritz, created by Wilhelm Busch. (T/F) 3) Little Nemo in Slumberland, by Winsor McCay, has been credited with being the first newspaper strip with a continuing story. (T/F) 4) Bud Fisher, the creator of Mutt & Jeff, became very rich by controlling every aspect of his creation and input and doing all the illustration work himself.(T/F) 5) The newspaper strip Mutt & Jeff started out giving boxing tips and predictions of upcoming matches in the area.(T/F) The History of Comics (Using Module Outline for Online Class) I. Richard Outcault A. The Yellow Kid 1. Originally titled At the Circus in Hogan's Alley 2. Debuted in May of 1895 3. Featured bald headed boy with large ears a) First publication, shirt was light blue b) Dressed in a hand-me-down type of shirt c) Usually appeared in a crowded urban drama in New York d) The child was often referred to as The Yellow Kid 4. Outcault wrote words everywhere a) Word balloons not prominently used b) Wrote Yellow Kid's thoughts driectly on his shirt as a way to communicate with the public 5. Yellow Journalism a) Hearst of the New York Journal hired Outcault away from Pulitzer's New York World b) Pulitzer hired George Luks to continue the Yellow Kid illustrations c) In a continuing effort to out do each other, the two papers would distort and sensationalise stories to attract more readers, thus yellow journalism was born 6. The Accomplishments of the Yellow Kid over its four year lifetime a) Elevated popularity of comic strips b) Created a public following leading to Yellow Kid merchandise c) Established a format of successive panels and eventual use of word balloons d) Created the first comic book, a 200 page collection titled The Yellow Kid in McFadden's Flats e) Both papers ran The Yellow Kid until it was discontinued in 1898 B. Buster Brown in 1902 1. Was considered more outrageous than The Yellow Kid a) Ran in the same vein as The Katzenjammer Kids b) The Yellow Kid even made appearances in the strips where Buster could teach him new troublemaking tricks 2. Possibly named for an actor a) Buster Keaton b) Keaton given name buster for being able to take a tumble and survive c) Used said ability in almost every Vaudeville show 3. Brown Shoe Company a) Renamed itself Buster Brown Shoes in time for the 1904 World's Fair b) This turned out profitable for both sides c) Company employed little people for personal appearances by Buster Brown and dog, Tige 4. Buster Brown became a household name II. The Katzenjammer Kids A. Dirks was asked to create a strip to rival The Yellow Kid 1. Debuted in the New York Journal on 12DEC1897 and is the oldest strip in syndication a) Hans and Fritz are the only named characters b) Kids often went toe-to-toe with authority figures, such as: Mama, Captain, or the Inspector 2. Strip was considered a knock-off a) Wilhelm Busch’s Max und Moritz ran in Germany in the 1860s b) Newspaper licensed the strip c) Dirks was free to create his own version B. One of the firsts 1. Featured several elements singular to the art form a) Repeated cast from strip to strip b) Utilised story technique of frame sequence c) First to employ word balloons from its conception C. Dirks leaves to travel the world in 1912 1. Paper gave the strip to Harold Knerr 2. Refused to give it back to Dirks when he finished his travels 3. The argument ended up in court 4. Judgement based on strips that had switched papers: Dirks could keep the characters, but lost the title to syndication 5. Dirks created Hans und Fritzfor a rival paper, and it ran for 50 years D. The Great War 1. Title changed to The Captain and the Kids 2. Rival paper changed theirs to The Shenanigan Kids, featuring Mike and Aleck 3. Children officially became Dutch until 1920 when it switched back to The Katzenjammer Kids E. The Katzies 1. Introduced in 1917 2. Oscar Hitt ghosted, however, Knerr neither drew or wrote The Katzies 3. Only lasted a few years F. The Katzenjammer Kids once again 1. Storylines moved all around the world a) Traveled anywhere from the Arctic to the Jungle b) Even found themselves in Squee-Jee Islands in 1930 2. Knerr dies in 1949 a) Successors: Doc Winner, Joe Musial, and Hy Eisman b) Eisman handles the strip today 3. Had very little success outside of the newspaper a) Had some reprints in Big Little Books and backstories featured in anthology comic books in the 30s and 40s b) Also had a few comics with their own titles c) Mostly shared covers with other weekly strips in Tiptop Comics which ran for 20 years and 200 issues d) King Features syndicates the strip and it remains the longest running comic strip in the US III. Winsor McCay A. McCay drew every chance he had as a child. 1. Parents had little faith in his art 2. Sent off to business school and became an accountant 3. Dropped out of class to earn money in Detroit B. Becoming a professional 1. Drew portraits of customers at the Wonderland Dine Museum, 1886 a) Quickly learned to draw females customers in a kind light, making the portrait beautiful while looking like the customer b) Had an incredible memory, he could redraw an object in detail in a continuous from memory 2. Left school in 1889 and went to Chicago for art lessons a) Found work with an engraving company doing posters for a traveling circus and was able to work for another dime museum. b) Never actually had the time or money for the art lessons 3. Two years later, he moved to Cincinnati a) worked at Vine Street Dime Museum b) Also painted posters, backdrop canvases and large window display boards for the museum c) Picked up worked at a sign company d) Never failed to draw a crowd while he worked for a sign company painting 8 ft high figures in one stroke 4. Remained in Cincinnati a) Married and had two children b) First introduction to the newspaper process was overflow work in the advertisement section c) When he began working on editorials, he became very successful d) Learned how to use a pen and ink since all of his previous work was done in pencil, crayon, and brushwork e) 1899 he began to send his drawings to life magazine, and there he quickly made their regular publishing list C. Tales of the Jungle Imps 1. McCay’s first sunday page for theCincinnati Enquirer a) Written by Felix Fiddle, a pseudonym for George Chester. b) There were 43 weekend strips from 11JAN to 09NOV 1903 c) Same basic theme: animal bothered by 3 imps (1) Animal seeked advice from imps (2) Imps would help (3) Animal would utilise advice to scare imps 2. Strip was an experiment a) McCay used the strip to work in perspective, character creation, and perception of movement b) Resulted in beautiful graphics in an Art Nouveau style D. New York 1. Moved close to the end of Tales of the Jungle Imps 2. He began a new life in cartooning a) Drew a strip by the title of Mr. Good Enough b) Started in JAN1904 c) Story about an eccentric that settled for good enough by the end 3. Sister’s Little Sister’s Beau, featured his first child star 4. Drew a colour strip titled The Phurious Phinish of Phoolish Philip’s Phunny Phrolics 5. Didn’t pick up steam until Little Sammy Sneeze a) Character sneezed every Sunday from 24JUL1904 - 09DEC1906 b) Strive was predictable c) Audience always knew how the strip ended and the character remained the same and never learned to cover his mouth 6. OCT1904 marked the start of his longest strip a) Dream of the Rarebit Fiend (1) Never a recurring character (2) Strip was the same: an adventure from an imagination run wild caused by a late night snack and an upset stomach b) Ran the strip under a pseudonym: Silas (1) It ran for his rival newspaper (2) Lasted until 1911 7. Other strips a) Beginning of 1905: Drew The Story of Hungry Henrietta (1) Lasted six months (2) Was about a family that confused family affection for food b) JUN1905: A Pilgrim’s Progress that lasted until DEC1910 8. Delving into Animation a) 1910 (1) Collected 4,000 drawings of his characters Nemo, Flip and Impie (2) Was the first time a comic character made animation b) Second animation (1) Recycled a character from Tales of the Jungle Imps: How a Mosquito Got His Bill (2) Adapted a 1906 strip of Dream of the Rarebit Fiend (3) 1912: Released How a Mosquito Operates, the story of a mosquito’s assault on a sleeping man and the consequences of overindulgence. (4) Comprised of about 6,000 drawings c) 1913 (1) Made a deal that allowed him to give up on all other comics in favour of important editorial drawings (2) Allowed him to make an impact with beautiful illustrations across the columns across the editorial page d) Gertie the Dinosaur (1) 1914: released the animation that consisted of 10,000 drawings (2) Elaborate background that had to be redrawn every time Gertie moved (3) Took Gertie to Vaudeville to perform interactively with the characters (4) It would take the world over 25 years to catch up with the quality of McCay’s animations e) The Sinking of Lusitania (1) McCay wanted to educate his crowds after amazing them (2) Took over 20,000 frames for a 7-minute documentary (3) Was probably used to creating Anti-German sentiment during the Great War (4) The film actually came out in 1918, when the war was mostly over E. Little Nemo in Slumberland 1. On 15OCT1905, Little Nemo in Slumberland debuted a) Debuted on the last page of the seven-strip, four page insert of the New York Herald b) It stood behind a full page of Buster Brown, a half page of The Terrors of the Tiny Tads, and Little Sammy Sneeze 2. Was a story about the adventures in Slumberland until the last panel, where Nemo would awake, finding it was all a dream 3. The strip quickly made it to merchandising a) Appeared in books, playing cards, games, postcards clothing and children’s shoes b) Where children’s shoes are concerned, it is thought that perhaps McCay was trying to keep up with Buster Brown 4. Ran in the Sunday supplement until 23JUL1911 5. Became a broadway play written by Victor Herbert a) Was the author that wrote Babes in Toyland b) Nemo portrayed by a 30 year old little person c) Same little person who played Buster Brown on stage a few years before 6. Little Nemo’s second opportunity a) 1926 - 1926 b) No longer drew the audience it once captivated c) Overshadowed by stories like Little Orphan Annie and Popeye (1) Had a child-like innocence in comparison (2) Simply couldn’t find a foothold with readers 7. Little Nemo was the first strip to have a continuing story 8. It is still the most richly illustrated comic strip ever created F. After Little Nemo 1. Worked on 27 other strips over two years while he worked on editorials 2. Continued his work with editorial cartoons until his death in 1934 IV. Bud (Harry Conway) Fisher A. San Francisco Chronicle 1. Hired as a staff artist after his move from Chicago 2. First panel drawings were for a sports page titled The Sporting Vaudeville B. Mutt and Jeff 1. Original title was A. Mutt, the A standing for the character’s first name, Augustus a) Fisher drew the character before, but had never given him a name b) The strip debuted on 15NOV1907 2. Daily panel becomes a strip a) Still featured in the sports section since the recurring theme remained gambling on horses b) Originally started with comically named horses, picked by Fisher, that the character bet on c) Fisher would post the wins and losses, finding it was better for the horse to lose so the character would have to figure out a way to make up his losses for the next strip (1) Grew in popularity, though some thought it was giving sincere betting (2) Mutt actually lost more than won (3) The public actually started keeping a tally of Mutt’s wins and losses 3. William Randolph Hearst a) Owned the competing paper the San Francisco Examiner b) The strip drew his attention it it, and to Fisher c) Offered Fisher more money, successfully bringing the artist to his paper (1) Fisher figured that the paper was larger, and would draw a larger audience. (2) Also wanted to better his life 4. The story ended with A. Mutt paying off his debts and returned to work a) Ended on 10DEC, a mere month after starting at the Chronicle b) Fisher copyrighted his characters before moving it over to the Examiner 5. Changing his audience a) Had to stray away from the horse betting community in favour of a more national crowd b) Mutt stayed by himself until 27MAR1908 (1) Mutt found himself in an insane asylum (2) Met an inmate by the name of Jim Jeffries c) Strip went in many different directions (1) Mutt’s wife sued for divorce (2) Politics made an appearance when Mutt ran for President (3) Mutt and Jeff went to Mexico and met Pancho Villa once (4) The duo even went to France to fight in the Great War 6. Greatest strip of its time a) The strips were very popular as time went on b) The strips were collected in panel-format-shaped books, reprinted in 1910 c) Even became English slang for a tall person to be paired with a drastically shorter one C. Animation 1. Fisher never finished the animation he was working with Paul Terry 2. Fisher later negotiated with a company on an animation deal and ended up owning about 60% of the animations 3. 1913-1926 a) ~300 silent, black and white shorts were produced b) This only increased Fisher’s wealth and left him busier than before D. Other Media 1. 1919: Fisher produced a book consisting of reprinted strips 2. Marketed with Kellogg’s All-Bran cereal 3. Starred on the cover of Famous Funnies #1, the first comic book in the modern format size 4. Also made an appearance in All-American Comics 5. Represented in many anthologies as filler 6. DC gave Mutt and Jeff its own title in 1939 a) Ran for almost 20 years b) Dell comics took over publishing for a year c) Harvey continued it until 1965 E. Living it up 1. Fisher hired assistants a) The assistants would handle Fisher’s workload b) Fisher went on to be a socialite as he spent his wealth c) Al Smith was the most devoted of all his assistants (1) Started in 1932 (2) Worked for Fisher for almost 50 years (3) Elaborated on family strip direction (4) Created Cicero’s Cat, a pet owned by Mutt’s son (5) Never signed his own name, even though he wrote and drew the strip, until Fisher’s death in 1954 (6) Left in 1980 F. Strip lasts for two more years after Smith’s departure, finally ending in 1982 1. Lasted 75 years 2. Is one of the greatest comics in history V. Fontaine Fox A. Toonerville Folks/Trolley 1. 1908: few children’s strips in the Sunday papers, but nothing weekly a) Fox proposed a daily panel devoted to children b) By the time the title Toonerville Folks was settled on, children were no longer in the spotlight 2. Boasted the largest cast of characters a) The most prominent characters, to name a few, were: Aunt Hogg the fattest woman in three counties, Mr. Bang the man with the temper, Katrinka the muscle lady that kept the trolley rolling, and Skipper the pilot of the trolley b) The characters were incredibly market friendly, being used in ads for various products 3. Based on an actual trolley line Fox visited on holiday 4. Movies a) 1920-1922: seventeen silent Toonerville movies were made (1) Fox wrote the scripts (2) The trolley was rigged with springs so it would touch the tracks when Katrinka boarded b) Mickey Rooney (1) Toonerville Bully Mickey McGuire played by Joe Yule Jr at the age of 6 (2) Filmed 78 shorts in Our Gang style comedies, lasting until Mickey’s Derby Day in 1936 (3) Boy actor started being known as Mickey Mcguire and attempted to change his name so the studio wouldn’t have to pay royalties to Fox (a) Fox won this particular case (b) Joe Yule Jr no longer allowed to use Mickey McGuire (4) Studio changed his last name to Rooney c) 1936: Toonerville Trolley was the first of 3 different colour animations (1) Trolley Ahoy and Toonerville Picnic follow (2) Painted backgrounds (3) Weak gags B. Other Works 1. Has three books a) 1917: Wrote Fontaine Fox’s Funny Folk b) 1918: Fontaine Fox’s Car was printed c) 1921: The Toonerville Trolley and Other Cartoons came out 2. 1934 - 1940 a) All-American Comics, Famous Funnies, and Popular Comics ran reprints in their back pages of many issues b) Some mentions on the covers c) Never had much cover attention VI. Polly and Her Pals A. Debuted 04DEC1912 1. Originally named Positive Polly 2. Written/Drawn by Cliff Sterrett a) Had previous experience drawing women b) Drew When a Man’s Married, Before and After, and For This We Have Daughters c) Was the first project where the heroine was the title 3. Started with Polly and her flirtations with various suitors a) Family and friends of Polly quickly took center stage b) Sterrett renamed it Polly and Her Pals to fit this new dynamic 4. Sterrett did most of the work himself a) Worked on daily and Sunday strips b) Topper on his strip called Belles and Wedding Bells...And Then They Were Married c) When medical problems arose in the 1930s, he had no choice but to hand off some of the work to his assistants (1) Continued Sunday page from 1935 (2) Worked until his last strip was published on 15JUN1958 (3) Passed away in 1964 5. Polly lost positioning but… a) Not before she inspired other characters (1) Boots and Her Buddies, Petting Patty, and Winnie Winkle were just some of the strips that emulated Polly (2) Blondie was another, the only one that actually stayed around b) Polly did end up picking up a syndication (1) It was in league with Krazy Kat (2) Didn’t have the same kind of media support, didn’t have merchandising, radio shows, movies, which weaken its staying power (3) Only a few were ever reprinted in comic book form VII. Krazy Kat A. The Dingbat Family 1. From 1902 - 1909 George Herriman made 18 different strips with whimsical titles 2. Created a strip titled The Dingbat Family a) In June of 1910, he began adding panels at the bottom about the family cat and dog 3. 26JUL1910, he illustrated the cat being hit in the head by a rock the mouse 4. 17AUG1910 the mouse referred to the cat asKrazy Kat 5. Krazy Kat took the malicious rock-throwing as affection, creating a relationship lasting 30 years 6. Offisser Pupp, Coconino County’s administrator of law and order, would often show Krazy Kat his affection by locking Ignatz Mouse in the country jail for hurling the bricks B. The Family Upstairs 1. 28OCT1913 Krazy Kat and The Dingbat Family separated, becoming two different strips 2. The Dingbat Family was renamed to The Family Upstairs 3. 23APR1916: The strip was expanded to a Sunday page located in the arts and drama section C. Herriman starts experimenting 1. Stylised Southwestern landscapes altered every frame 2. Characters remained stationary 3. Varied shapes and placement of panels 4. Use of slapstick comedy D. Hearst, this guy again 1. Krazy Kat drew the attention of Hearst, who own the syndicate 2. Continued to support Krazy Katuntil Herriman died in 1944 3. Strip was discontinued after an attempt was made by another artist to replicate it. E. Overall 1. At its peak, Krazy Kat was syndicated in less than 50 papers 2. Dell Comics printed ten issues of Krazy Kat from 1951 - 1952 (Not Herriman’s handiwork) 3. Gold Key printed an issue in 1964 (Again, not Herriman’s) 4. In 1977 there was a reprint of some of the newspaper strips 5. For Herriman’s 100th b-day, Fantagraphics is working on printing most if not all of the Krazy and Ignatz strips VIII. Rube Goldberg A. Getting started 1. Born 04JUL1883 2. His interest in drawing cartoons was not looked on favourably by his parents 3. 1904 he graduated from College of Mining; he only lasted 3 months B. San Francisco Chronicle 1. Worked for $8/day 2. Submitted a drawing everyday, none were printed C. San Francisco Bulletin 1. There he drew sport cartoons, mostly boxing 2. Drew a panel funny called Mike & Ike D. New York 1. Created a feature panel titled Foolish Questions a) Lame questions with even dumber answers b) Still around in Mad Magazine with Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions by Al Jaffee 2. Created many panels and strip cartoons E. Rube Goldberg Devices 1. Began a series that would make him most famous in 1914 a) Drew a contraption called the Automatic Weight-Reducing Machine for The New York Evening Mail b) Food-proof prison, complicated mechanism 2. Used to accomplish something simple in an overly complicated way a) Term was included in the Merriam-Webster as an adjective b) Most recognisable Rube Goldberg is the game Mouse Trap F. Later in life 1. Worked forThe New York Sun as an editorial cartoonist a) Worked forthem for years b) Won a Pulitzer Prize in 1948 for an editorial he drew about an atomic bomb printed on 22JUL1947 2. 80th Birthday a) Retired from cartooning in favour of sculpting b) 1967, National Cartoonists Society presented him with an award named after him c) Died in 1970 d) 2010, saluted Goldberg with an animation


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