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The Comic Book: From Then to Now

bucky comic1

Comics, sequences of drawings that tell a story, act as a cultural symbol as an art form. Although they are said to date back in history to cave paintings and medieval broadsheets, the first “real” comic strip is said to be Richard Felton Outcault’s The Yellow Kid in 1895.

yellow kid

The initial comic books emerged as reprints of a compilation of comic book strips into book format, and when publishers soon came to the realization that comic books themselves could boost newspaper sales, their popularity went mainstream. These fun and visually appealing works of art told users a story, bringing a lighter feature to newspapers.

Flash forward to the early to mid-1900’s, as superheroes begin to gain popularity, and eventually become a prominent aspect of comic books. We saw the creation of comic book icons Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, and Captain America- just to name a few. Comics begin to touch on social events, including wars, cultural issues, crimes, and even government, and at one time, Captain America was actually shown by Marvel Comics punching Hitler, a tyrant and leader of the Nazi Party, in the face during WWII.

bucky comic

Technological innovations spread, but with the invention of the television, readers began to lose interest in comics as they found viewing television to peak their interests. In attempt to maintain a steady stream of income, comic book companies began to license characters to be shown in TV shows and cartoons. Viewers were able to enjoy their comics of the past on this new technology, quickly bringing comics back to popularity once again.

Technology continues to advance, and with such streamlined processes for comics to reach viewers, the audience remains captive. With the digital age continuing, we see an influx of users online, similar to the effects following the invention of the television. To keep up with such changes, the comic book industry is moving more towards a digital comic book stance.

Paper comic books will always remain, but it is comforting to know that the comic book industry continues to keep up with the emerging technologies. The presence of digital comic books continues to be on the rise, and we’re anxious to see where the future of comic takes us. Looking back on their creation and growth, it is clear that the history of comics has entertained us, educated us, and will continue to stimulate imagination and enjoyment for years to come.


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