Comic Strips and Their Vast Popularity
Comic strips are almost as popular as comic books in some circles.
Most people who 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 are
published on a recurring basis in newspapers, magazines or on the Internet. Strips can be humorous like Beetle Bailey, Hi & Lois, or Hagar the Horrible, with no continuous story but ends with
a typical punch line.
Or they can have a soap opera like continuity (like Judge Parker or Little Orphan Annie) with
serious story lines in serial form.
They are, however, nonetheless known as “comics” – though the term “sequential
art”, coined by cartoonist Will Eisner, is becoming increasingly popular. In America, the great newspaper icons of the time, Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst were continuously warring with each other during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
This created a great popularity in comic strips and “The Little Bears” was the first American comic with recurring characters. Then the now famous, “Yellow Kids” became the first color comic and was part of the first Sunday comic section in 1897.
This is where the term “yellow journalism” supposedly formed its origin. Mutt and Jeff was the first daily comic strip appearing in 1907. Comic strips not only provide us with the laugh each day or week that we must have to start the day.
They also give a political platform to some of the strip creators in which they can pass on their social and political opinions. Comic strips have long held a distorted mirror to contemporary society.
They have long been used for political and social commentary, ranging from the staunch conservative values of Little Orphan Annie to the unabashed liberalism of Doonesbury.
Pogo used animals to particularly devastating effect, caricaturing many prominent politicians of the day as animal denizens of Pogo’s Okeefenokee Swamp.
Creator Walt Kelly, in a gutsy move, took on Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s, caricaturing him as a bobcat named Simple J. Malarkey, a megalomaniac bent on taking over the characters’ bird watching club and rooting out all undesirables.
Kelly also defended the medium against possible government regulation in the McCarthy era. At a time when comic books were coming under fire for supposed sexual, violent, and subversive content, Kelly feared the same would happen to comic strips.
Going before the congressional subcommittee, he proceeded to charm the members with his drawings and the force of his personality. Due to his actions, the comic
strip remained safe for creative satire.
Comic strips have also made quite a splash on the Net since
the World Wide Web came into play in the 1990s. This led to an explosion of amateur webcomics, comic strips created solely for Web sites.
Webcomics differ from published comic strips, in that anyone can start his own strip and publish it on the Web. No longer is there any need for a creator to meet the approval of a publisher or syndicate.
Currently there are hundreds of webcomics. Many of which are low quality and sporadically updated.
However, a number have endured, and the best ones rival their newspaper and magazine counterparts in terms of quality and quantity.
Megatokyo, Penny Arcade, PvP, Sluggy Freelance, and User Friendly are considered to be among the best of the webcomics.
The majority of traditional newspaper comic strips now have some Internet presence. Syndicates often provide archives of recent strips on their websites.
So the next time you sit down to the Sunday paper, take particular note of the funnies section. Keep your favorite
comic strips near and dear to your heart.
And remember the trials and tribulations these strips have gone through to continue to provide you with everlasting entertainment.
Comic Book Awards
When you think of comic books, one of the last things you think about is if any comic books receive any accolades. Is there such a thing as comic book awards?
Apparently there are. In America alone, there are several companies that the awards are given to different comic book genres.
One of the main companies that provide awards to the comic book industry is called The National Cartoonist Society Awards, which houses fifteen categories. A panel of judges does the selection. There are regional chapters and the general members do the voting.
Another comic book award company is the comic buyers guide fan awards. The first year the awards were handed out was in 1983. The awards are broken up into several different categories from favorite publisher to favorite inker to favorite comic book hero.
In 2003, the most current year there are statistics, the favorite publisher of comic books was DC, which held a forty-six percent majority, with Marvel receiving about twenty-three percent.
Dark Horse had a merger two percent (rounded up) of the votes. The favorite comic book was the JSA (Justice Society of America) with almost eight percent of the votes. The favorite comic book hero was Batman with a little more than fourteen percent of the tally.
Americans are not the only country to give out awards for the comic strip and comic book industries. The now defunct Eagle award came hailed from England. In addition,
England has, up until the year 2002, an award company called the National Comics awards where a panel of judges award the best comic of the year. All other awards are nominated by everyone and are open to everyone.
France, Spain and Japan all have their equivalent awards.
France has an award called the Grand Prize of the City of Angouleme where a living author, cartoonist or scriptwriters are recognized for their lifetime contribution.
In Spain, one of the awards given is called the Haxtur Awards. The Haxtur Awards celebrate the best long story, best short
story, best cover and a host of other awards that are given annually.
The Japanese have a slew of awards. One of them is called Japanese Cartoonists’ Association Awards. The nominations are open to all artists who submit their work.
The Association creed is the enrichment and expansion of cartooning in Japan. Another example of Japan’s dedicated environment for fostering the art of comic books and its artist’s is the Media Arts Awards.
Its inception was in 1997 and like its counterpart, all nominations are based on artists who submit there works.
These countries, others not mentioned, and ours help spread the word on comic books and their wide assortment of personnel.
The bylaws in their charter differ in there nomination process and the awards given out, but they represent an industry that achieves greatness through their respective works.
To receive tributes is an honor and helps sustain the industry. Bestowing the awards also helps the respective nations lure potential artists within their country to seek out jobs related to the field. The awards and the ceremony help cement the artists and the comic books.
Hollywood’s Fascination with the Comic Book Superhero
The public fascination with comic book superhero characters have been exploited by movie production companies for years.
Hollywood has been creating feature length comic book movies, movie serials and TV shows to continue to whet our appitites. But as special effect technology and costume designs became better and better, Hollywood kicked it up a notch with feature-length high budget productions.
Superman, the Movie and the 3 sequels started in the 1970s and the ’90s and beyond brought us Batman, The Hulk, the X-Men and the now infamous Spider-Man, to name a few.
Why all this interest in producing comic book superhero movies? Big bucks!! The two Spider-Man movies alone have netted about 800 million dollars apiece in worldwide ticket sales.
That’s not chicken feed. This kind of income could not be generated without an avid public interest in comic book movies. So if you feel you are alone in your voracious passion for your own comic book collection, think again.
And now a new twist has been added. Directors, screenplay writers, and even actors are writing for, of all things, comic books now. Big name Hollywood writers are helping to sell more comics.
For example, Joss Whedon, perhaps best known for creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has written stories for Marvel in the series Astonishing X-Men.
Back in the 90s, who would have known that all these fan boys had been hiding in the Hollywood woodworks waiting for comics to gain some cultural credibility?
If you haven’t followed some of the comic news of the last several months, Stan “the man” Lee has been fighting his personal battle with His life long employer, Marvel Comics.
Stan is probably one of the most well known character creators in the comic book industry. He has characters like Batman, Spider-Man and the Hulk credited to his creative imagination.
Seems Stan had a contractual agreement with Marvel for 10% of any revenue acquired by Marvel from comic book superhero movies and TV projects centered on Stan characters.
But apparently the high dollar superstructure of the corporate mind doesn’t want to part with all their income. Now this is nothing new, but Stan Lee managed to win the first round for the little guy. The judge presiding over Stan’s case agreed that Stan should receive his share of the agreed on profits.
Now maybe Stan will get his share and maybe he won’t. Sounds like Marvel will be appealing the decision. At any rate, if there weren’t big bucks involved in the production of comic book superhero movies, this case would not have been such an issue.
I believe the near future is going to bring many more of my favorite comic book superheroes to the silver screen. I have already started my own DVD collection and as more comic book superheroes get transferred from the screen to round disc, I will continue to increase the size of my collection.
Do you think a DVD comic book movie collection will be worth as much as a comic book collection in the future? Probably not, but that won’t stop me from building my collection anyway.
What does the future hold for comic book superhero movies? It almost seems that we can call the present and near future the Golden Age of the comic book movie.
I spend a lot of time researching comic book superheros and creating new content for my comic book site. Is there a movie in the planning stages for your favorite comic book superhero?
A frequent visit to my site may inform you as to when you can expect the next comic book movie. See you there.
The Proper Use of Comic Book Supplies will help you Maintain a Top-Notch Collection
If you want to keep your comic book collection in tiptop shape, comic book supplies will become part of your collecting life. As soon as a magazine is printed there are natural environmental forces going to work to try and destroy the ink and the paper.
You have put in a lot of time, effort and enjoyment in acquiring all your comics. You don’t want them to turn back to the dust and elements from which they came do you? So the proper use of comic book supplies is essential.
Elements such as humidity, temperature, pollutants, human skin oils and even the chemicals of the printed materials themselves, will start to deteriorate and discolor your comic books from day one.
Comic book supplies and tools that have been developed over the years to help us combat these natural forces are de-acidification paper, polymer type storage bags, stiff backing material, storage boxes and desiccants (dehumidification materials).
Not only will these comic book supplies protect your comics for your own enjoyment, they will add to reinforce the future value of each comic book.
Most all of these comic book supplies can typically be located down at your local comic book shop. But as I have discovered lately, there can be a world of difference in preservation abilities depending on what materials are used in the manufacture of comic book supplies.
Quite typically what you may find downtown will be of sufficient protective quality to protect your comics for quite a while. Although, polybags, to put your comics into, are quite common and fairly cheap, Mylar bags are definitely the way to go.
They will protect for 100 years (that may be a little overboard) as opposed to 2 or 3 years for poly.
There has been a lot of elaborate science, particularly chemistry, which has gone into comic book supplies preservation material manufacturing the last several years.
MicroChamber material has been developed that will increase preservation from de-acidification and environmental breakdown for a vastly superior time period as opposed to typical comic book supplies materials available today.
Beware though, comic book supplies manufactured with this new material can become quite costly. But if you have some serious collector’s items, which you feel are worth a significant amount of cash, isn’t the investment worth it?
It is also no secret that CGC uses these comic book supplies materials in every comic book they grade.
I have created a page at my comic book site, which incorporates links to some rather technical scientific articles on preservation and using MicroChamber materials.
You can read an in-depth discussion at www.comic-book-collection-made-easy.com/comic-book-supplies.html
Be forewarned though, You may need a moderate understanding of chemistry and physics to completely follow some of the discussions.
But the articles will open your eyes to what is available in the comic book industry for comic book supplies preservation supplies these days.
Now if you have a rather rare back issue that may well have a high dollar value, here is a process worth considering. De-acidification products are usually used to neutralize acids in the paper prior to storage of most paper products of a pulp nature.
This is not to be taken lightly, as it is considered by most to be an extensive form of restoration. The current understanding of the process is that the staples are removed and the sheets are submerged, film developer style, in a bath of de-acidification material.
Then the entire book is rebuilt with new staples. This process can cost around $50 per comic book, when done by a professional, but will restore and increase the life expectancy of your comic book by many years.
This process, in my opinion, should only be considered for already deteriorated comics that may have a considerable future worth if restored.
One final item to consider, especially if you live in a high humidity area is the use of descants as part of your comic book supplies arsenal.
A desiccant is a chemical sieve for water, and is available for industry use in small packets or in buckets. For our purposes an 8-oz can (that looks like you’d keep a grasshopper in) can be simply put inside the box to absorb moisture and indicates when it is full by changing from crystal colored to pink.
These same cans can then be reused by baking them for 3-4 hours in an oven at about 350 F. Each canister can cost around $9-$10 from one supplier called GAYLORDMART.
1 canister per short box and 2 per long box should be sufficient. Another consideration is the little packets typically found in a box of shoes. These are even more inexpensive, but would require further research to insure no harm would come to each comic book.
So as you build your valuable comic book collection, you will want to put some serious consideration into the comic book supplies that you will need.
Materials and supplier source will become important variables in your overall decisions. I will have more interesting topics and sources from time to time at my site, so come on over and visit. You may even want to bookmark it.
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