The Art of the Funnies: An Aesthetic History (Studies in Popular Culture (Paperback))

By Robert C. Harvey

This paintings examines the caricature all through its background for the weather that make cartoons probably the most beautiful of the preferred arts. The sketch was once created by means of rival newspapers as a tool of their flow battles. It fast validated itself as not just an efficient equipment, but in addition as an establishment that quickly unfold to newspapers world-wide. This ancient learn unfolds the historical past of the funnies and divulges the delicate paintings of ways the strips mixture observe and images to make their influence. The ebook additionally reveals new info and weighs the effect of syndication upon the medium. Milestones within the paintings of cartooning featured contain: Mutt and Jeff, Dick Tracy, Tarzan, Flash Gordon, Popeye, Krazy Kat, and others. newer classics also are incorporated, reminiscent of Peanuts, Tumbleweeds, Doonesbury and Calvin and Hobbes.

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As Stephen Becker has observed: "What made Flash Gordon outstanding was not the story; along the unmarked trails of interstellar space any  continuity was original. Nor were Flash and his lady friend radical departures from the traditional hero and heroine. But Flash was beautifully drawn. " 5   No one can deny Moore's contribution. His stories, built archetypally around Flash as godlike redeemer, a savior from another world, were suspenseful, fast­paced,  and ingenious. But for all their ingenuity of incident, they were too fast moving to allow much time for character development. Flash, the polo player turned savior, is  everything we expect in an adventurer—courageous, honest, nobly motivated, and above all resourceful. But he is nothing more. Apart from possessing the traditional,  culturally prescribed traits of a hero, Flash has no personality. His love for Dale is perfunctory: he is the hero; she, the heroine; and the      Page 136 Figure 74. Raymond's Rip Kirby was another stylistic tour de force. The top panels are from 1946 (the first month of the strip), 1950, and  1956. As these drawings and those in the strips (from 1946, 1952, and 1954) show, Raymond used a crisp fine line against  which he deployed solid blacks in artful contrast. In this selection of strips, we also see the regular members of the  cast—Kirby's man servant Desmond (bottom) and, in the second­tier strip, Kirby's beauteous paramour, Honey Doran. Although she appeared in the strip quite often at first, Honey eventually dropped from view, probably to permit Rip an  occasional dalliance with the itinerant females he encountered in his adventures. Page 137 customary relationship between such persons is love. In Dale's pettish flashes of jealousy (which spark with such routine predictability throughout the run of Flash), we  see all the individuality that she is allowed. Said Coulton Waugh: "These lithe, sexy young people have an empty look—one feels that a cross­section would show little  inside their hearts and heads. " 6  But with Raymond's drawing, we seldom notice this flaw. His graphics give the strip's characters such lifelike appearance that we  overlook the absence of individual personality in them. They are larger than life—or, at least, more beautiful, handsomer, more graceful. And the beauty of these visuals  seduces us into believing in the characters, who look and move as we would like to look and move. "The total effect," Becker said, "—slick, imaginative drawing with  literate narrative—was one of melodrama on a high level, which should not obscure the fact that Raymond's villains were throughly wicked or that his female characters  were generally sexy. Flash rapidly became the premier space strip. It was wittier and moved faster than Buck Rogers; it was prettier and less boyish than William  Ritt's and Clarence Gray's Brick Bradford. ''7   There is no question that it was Raymond's art that brought Flash Gordon alive, his art that made the characters live in the minds of their readers.

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