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Comic Strips and Their Vast Popularity!

Comic strips are almost as popular as comic books in somecircles. So I would be remiss if I didn't compile anarticle about them. Strips have ended up in a multitude ofnewspapers and other media all over the world. Most peoplewho read the Sunday paper can't pass up the comic section.I know I sure can't.

Comic strips are short strips or pieces of sequential art,telling a story. They are drawn by cartoonists and arepublished on a recurring basis in newspapers, magazines oron the Internet.

Strips can be humorous like Beetle Bailey, Hi & Lois, orHagar the Horrible, with no continuous story but ends witha typical punch line. Or they can have a soap opera likecontinuity (like Judge Parker or Little Orphan Annie) withserious story lines in serial form. They are, however,nonetheless known as "comics" - though the term "sequentialart", coined by cartoonist Will Eisner, is becomingincreasingly popular.

In America, the great newspaper icons of the time, JosephPulitzer and William Randolph Hearst were continuouslywarring with each other during the late 1800's and early1900's. This created a great popularity in comic strips and"The Little Bears" was the first American comic withrecurring characters. Then the now famous, "Yellow Kids"became the first color comic and was part of the firstSunday comic section in 1897. This is where the term"yellow journalism" supposedly formed its origin. Mutt andJeff was the first daily comic strip appearing in 1907.

Comic strips not only provide us with the laugh each day orweek that we must have to start the day. They also give apolitical platform to some of the strip creators in whichthey can pass on their social and political opinions.

Comic strips have long held a distorted mirror tocontemporary society. They have long been used forpolitical and social commentary, ranging from the staunchconservative values of Little Orphan Annie to the unabashedliberalism of Doonesbury.

Pogo used animals to particularly devastating effect,caricaturing many prominent politicians of the day asanimal denizens of Pogo's Okeefenokee Swamp. Creator WaltKelly, in a gutsy move, took on Joseph McCarthy in the1950s, caricaturing him as a bobcat named Simple J.Malarkey, a megalomaniac bent on taking over thecharacters' bird watching club and rooting out allundesirables.

Kelly also defended the medium against possible governmentregulation in the McCarthy era. At a time when comic bookswere coming under fire for supposed sexual, violent, andsubversive content, Kelly feared the same would happen tocomic strips. Going before the congressional subcommittee,he proceeded to charm the members with his drawings and theforce of his personality. Due to his actions, the comicstrip remained safe for creative satire.

Comic strips have also made quite a splash on the Net sincethe World Wide Web came into play in the 1990s. This led toan explosion of amateur webcomics, comic strips createdsolely for Web sites. Webcomics differ from publishedcomic strips, in that anyone can start his own strip andpublish it on the Web. No longer is there any need for acreator to meet the approval of a publisher or syndicate.

Currently there are hundreds of webcomics. Many of whichare low quality and sporadically updated. However, a numberhave endured, and the best ones rival their newspaper andmagazine counterparts in terms of quality and quantity.Megatokyo, Penny Arcade, PvP, Sluggy Freelance, and UserFriendly are considered to be among the best of thewebcomics.

The majority of traditional newspaper comic strips now havesome Internet presence. Syndicates often provide archivesof recent strips on their websites.

So the next time you sit down to the Sunday paper, takeparticular note of the funnies section. Keep your favoritecomic strips near and dear to your heart. And remember thetrials and tribulations these strips have gone through tocontinue to provide you with everlasting entertainment.

Submitted by:

Dave Gieber

Dave Gieber is the owner and editor of a website builtaround one of his childhood passions. Learn the basicessentials to comic book collecting success with thisfree 5-day course: www.comic-book-collection-made-easy.com/5-day-course.html





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