Comics  

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As the ninth art: "La première mention de l'expression neuvième art est due à Austin de Croze dans son opuscule La psychologie de la table, daté de 1928, pour désigner la gastronomie.

(1964) L’expression neuvième art est due à Claude Beylie qui a utilisé cette expression dans un article publié dans Lettres et Médecins, en mars 1964. Ce papier faisait partie d'une série de cinq articles parus dans la revue entre janvier et septembre 1964, sous le titre de "La Bande dessinée est-elle un art ?"

Morris (pseudonyme de Maurice de Bévère, le créateur de Lucky Luke) et Pierre Vankeer ont utilisé cette expression pour nommer une rubrique qu'ils animèrent pendant trois ans au sein du Journal de Spirou. Nul ne sait si Morris et Vankeer avaient lu les articles de Beylie ou si c'est un hasard. Cette rubrique, intitulée Neuvième Art et sous-titrée Musée de la bande dessinée, apparaît pour la première fois dans le numéro 1392 de Spirou, le 17 décembre 1964.

Lors de la création de la rubrique, Morris et Vankeer pensèrent à huitième art avant d’apprendre que l’appellation était déjà prise. Dans leur introduction de la première parution de Neuvième art, les auteurs justifient leur choix en signalant que le huitième art désigne déjà la télévision."

--wiktionary, May 2018


Comic books

This page Comics is part of the narratology series. Illustration: Little Nemo sitting upright in bed
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This page Comics is part of the narratology series.
Illustration: Little Nemo sitting upright in bed

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Comics (from the Greek κωμικός, kōmikos "of or pertaining to comedy" from κῶμος - kōmos "revel, komos", via the Latin cōmicus) is a graphic medium in which images convey a sequential narrative. The term derives from the mostly humorous early work in the medium, and came to apply to that form of the medium including those far from comic. The sequential nature of the pictures, and the predominance of pictures over words, distinguishes comics from picture books, though there is some overlap between the two. Most comics combine words with images, often indicating speech in the form of word balloons, but pantomime strips, such as The Little King, are not uncommon. Words other than dialogue, captions for example, usually expand upon the pictures, but sometimes act in counterpoint.

Early precursors of comics as they are known today include Trajan's Column and the work of William Hogarth. By the 19th century, the medium as we know it today began to take form among European and American artists. Comics as a real mass medium started to emerge in the United States in the early 20th century with the newspaper comic strip, where its form began to be standardized (image-driven, speech balloons etc.). The combination of words and pictures proved popular and quickly spread throughout the world.

Comic strips were soon gathered into cheap booklets and reprint comic books. Original comic books soon followed. Today, comics are found in newspapers, magazines, comic books, graphic novels and on the web. Historically, the form dealt with humorous subject matter, but its scope has expanded to encompass the full range of literary genres. Also see: Comic strip and cartoon. In some circles, comics are still seen as low art, and Barnaby. However, such an elitist "low art/high art" distinction doesn't exist in the French-speaking world (and, to some extent, continental Europe), where the bandes dessinées medium as a whole is commonly accepted as "the Ninth Art", is usually dedicated a non-negligible space in bookshops and libraries, and is regularly celebrated in international events such as the Angoulême International Comics Festival. Such distinctions also do not exist in the Japanese manga, the world's largest comics culture.

In the late 20th and early 21st century there has been a movement to rehabilitate the medium. Critical discussions of the form appeared as early as the 1920s,

Though practitioners may eschew formal traditions, they often use particular forms and conventions to convey narration and speech, or to evoke emotional or sensuous responses. Devices such as speech balloons and boxes are used to indicate dialogue and impart establishing information, while panels, layout, gutters and zip ribbons can help indicate the flow of the story. Comics use of text, ambiguity, symbolism, design, iconography, literary technique, mixed media and stylistic elements of art help build a subtext of meanings. Though comics are non-linear structures and can be hard to read sometimes, it is simply presented. However, it depends of the reader's "frame of mind" to read and understand the comic. Different conventions were developed around the globe, from the manga of Japan to the manhua of China and the manhwa of Korea, the comic books of the United States, and the larger hardcover albums in Europe.

Contents

History

Early narratives in art

Comics as an art form established itself in the late 19th and early 20th century, alongside the similar forms of film and animation. The three forms share certain conventions, most noticeably the mixing of words and pictures, and all three owe parts of their conventions to the technological leaps made through the industrial revolution. Although the comics form was established and popularized in the pages of newspapers and magazines in the late 1890s, narrative illustration has existed for many centuries.

Rome's Trajan's Column, dedicated in 113 AD, is an early surviving examples of a narrative told through the use of sequential pictures, while Egyptian hieroglyphs, Greek friezes, medieval tapestries such as the Bayeux Tapestry and illustrated manuscripts also demonstrate the use of sequential images and words combined to convey a narrative. In medieval paintings, many sequential scenes of the same story (usually a Biblical one) are simultaneously shown in the same painting (see illustration on the left).

However, these works lack the ability to travel to the reader; it needed the invention of modern printing techniques to allow the form to capture a wide audience and become a mass medium.

The 15th–18th centuries and printing advances

The invention of the printing press, allowing movable type, established a separation between images and words, the two requiring different methods in order to be reproduced. Early printed material concentrated on religious subjects, but through the 17th and 18th centuries they began to tackle aspects of political and social life, and also started to satirize and caricature. It was also during this period that the speech bubble was developed as a means of attributing dialogue.

William Hogarth is often identified in histories of the comics form. His work, A Rake's Progress, was composed of a number of canvases, each reproduced as a print, and the eight prints together created a narrative. As printing techniques developed, due to the technological advances of the industrial revolution, magazines and newspapers were established. These publications utilized illustrations as a means of commenting on political and social issues, such illustrations becoming known as cartoons in the 1840s. Soon, artists were experimenting with establishing a sequence of images to create a narrative.

While surviving works of these periods such as Francis Barlow's A True Narrative of the Horrid Hellish Popish Plot (c.1682) as well as The Punishments of Lemuel Gulliver and A Rake's Progress by William Hogarth (1726), can be seen to establish a narrative over a number of images, it wasn't until the 19th century that the elements of such works began to crystallise into the comic strip.

The speech balloon also evolved during this period, from the medieval origins of the phylacter, a label, usually in the form of a scroll, which identified a character either through naming them or using a short text to explain their purpose. Artists such as George Cruikshank helped codify such phylacters as balloons rather than as scrolls, although at this time they were still referred to as labels. Although they were now used to represent dialogue, this dialogue was still used for identification purposes rather than to create a dialogue within the work, and artists soon discarded them in favour of running dialogue underneath the panels. The speech balloons weren't reintroduced to the form until Richard F. Outcault utilized them as a means of establishing dialogue within his works.

The 19th century: a form established

Rodolphe Töpffer, a Francophone Swiss artist, is seen as the key figure of the early part of the 19th century. Although speech balloons had fallen from favour during the middle part of the 19th century, Töpffer's sequentially illustrated stories, with the text compartmentalised below the images, were reprinted throughout Europe and the United States. The lack of copyright laws at this time allowed such pirated editions, and these translated versions created a market on both continents for similar works.

In 1843 Töpffer formalised his thoughts on the picture story in his Essay on Physiognomics: "To construct a picture-story does not mean you must set yourself up as a master craftsman, to draw out every potential from your material — often down to the dregs! It does not mean you just devise caricatures with a pencil naturally frivolous. Nor is it simply to dramatize a proverb or illustrate a pun. You must actually invent some kind of play, where the parts are arranged by plan and form a satisfactory whole. You do not merely pen a joke or put a refrain in couplets. You make a book: good or bad, sober or silly, crazy or sound in sense."

In 1845 the satirical drawings which had regularly been appearing in newspapers and magazines gained a name: cartoons. The British magazine Punch, launched in 1841, referred to its 'humorous pencilings' as cartoons in a satirical reference to the Parliament of the day, who were themselves organising an exhibition of cartoons, or preparatory drawings, at the time. This usage became common parlance, lasting into the present day. Similar magazines containing cartoons in continental Europe included Fliegende Blätter and Le Charivari, while in the U.S. Judge and Puck were popular.

1865 saw the publication of Max and Moritz by Wilhelm Busch by a German newspaper. Busch refined the conventions of sequential art, and his work was a key influence within the form, Rudolph Dirks was inspired by the strip to create The Katzenjammer Kids in 1897.

It is around this time that Manhua, the Chinese form of comics, started to formalize, a process that lasted up until 1927. The introduction of lithographic printing methods derived from the West was a critical step in expanding the form within China during the early 20th century. Like Europe and the United States, satirical drawings were appearing in newspapers and periodicals, initially based on works from those countries. One of the first magazines of satirical cartoons was based on the United Kingdom's Punch, snappily re-branded as "The China Punch". The first piece drawn by a person of Chinese nationality was "The Situation in the Far East" from Tse Tsan-Tai, printed 1899 in Japan. By the 1920s a market was established for palm-sized picture books like Lianhuanhua.

In 1884, Ally Sloper's Half Holiday was published, a magazine whose selling point was a strip featuring the titular character, and widely regarded as the first comic strip magazine to feature a recurring character. In 1890 two more comic magazines debuted to the British public, Comic Cuts and Illustrated Chips, establishing the tradition of the British comic as an anthology periodical containing comic strips.

In the United States, R.F. Outcault's work in combining speech balloons and images on Hogan's Alley and The Yellow Kid has been credited as establishing the form and conventions of the comic strip. Although this view is being revised by current academics, who are uncovering many other works which combine speech bubbles and a multi image narrative, the popularity of Outcalt and the position of the strip in a newspaper is credited as being the driving force of the form.

The 20th century and the mass medium

The 1920s and 1930s saw further booms within the industry. In China a market was established for palm-sized picture books like Lianhuanhua, while the market for comic anthologies in Britain had turned to targeting children through juvenile humor, with The Dandy and The Beano launched. In Belgium, Hergé created the Tintin newspaper strip for a comic supplement; this was successfully collected in a bound album and created a market for further such works. The same period in the United States had seen newspaper strips expand their subject matter beyond humour, with action, adventure and mystery strips launched. The collection of such material also began, with The Funnies, a reprint collection of newspaper strips, published in tabloid size in 1929.

A market for such comic books soon followed, and by 1938 publishers were printing original material in the format. It was at this point that Action Comics#1 launched, with Superman as the cover feature. The popularity of the character swiftly enshrined the superhero as the defining genre of American comics, and although the genre fell out of favour in the 1950s, the 1960s saw it re-establish its domination of the form until the late 20th century.

In Japan, a country with a long tradition for illustration and whose writing system evolved from pictures, comics were hugely popular. Referred to as manga, the Japanese form was established after World War II by Osamu Tezuka, who expanded the page count of a work to number in the hundreds, and who developed a filmic style, heavily influenced by the Disney animations of the time. The Japanese market expanded its range to cover works in many genres, from juvenile fantasy through romance to adult fantasies. Japanese manga is typically published in large anthologies, containing several hundred pages, and the stories told have long been used as sources for adaptation into animated film. In Japan such films are referred to as anime, and many creators will work in both forms simultaneously, leading to an intrinsic linking of the two forms.

During the latter half of the 20th century comics have become a very popular item for collectors and from the 1970s American comics publishers have actively encouraged collecting and shifted a large portion of comics publishing and production to appeal directly to the collector's community.

Writing in 1972, Sir Ernst Gombrich certainly felt Töpffer to have evolved a new pictorial language, that of an abbreviated art style, which worked by allowing the audience to fill in gaps with their own imagination.

The modern double usage of the term comic, as an adjective describing a genre, and a noun designating an entire medium, has been criticised as confusing and misleading. In the 1960s and 1970s, underground cartoonists used the spelling comix to distinguish their work from mainstream newspaper strips and juvenile comic books; ironically, although their work was written for an adult audience, it was usually comedic in nature as well, so the "comic" label was still appropriate. The term graphic novel was popularised in the late 1970s, having been coined at least two decades previous, to distance the material from this confusion.

In the 1980s comics scholarship started to blossom in the U.S., and a resurgence in the popularity of comics was seen, with Alan Moore and Frank Miller producing notable superhero works and Bill Watterson's Calvin & Hobbes being syndicated.

In 2005 Robert Crumb's work was exhibited in galleries both sides of the Atlantic, and The Guardian newspaper devoted its tabloid supplement to a week long exploration of his work and idioms.

The invention of the printing press, allowing movable type, established a separation between images and words, the two requiring different methods in order to be reproduced. Early printed material concentrated on religious subjects, but through the 17th and 18th centuries they began to tackle aspects of political and social life, and also started to satirize and caricature. It was also during this period that the speech bubble was developed as a means of attributing dialogue.

William Hogarth is often identified in histories of the comics form. His work, A Rake's Progress, was composed of a number of canvases, each reproduced as a print, and the eight prints together created a narrative. As printing techniques developed, due to the technological advances of the industrial revolution, magazines and newspapers were established. These publications utilized illustrations as a means of commenting on political and social issues, such illustrations becoming known as cartoons in the 1840s. Soon, artists were experimenting with establishing a sequence of images to create a narrative.

While surviving works of these periods such as Francis Barlow's A True Narrative of the Horrid Hellish Popish Plot (c.1682) as well as The Punishments of Lemuel Gulliver and A Rake's Progress by William Hogarth (1726), can be seen to establish a narrative over a number of images, it wasn't until the 19th century that the elements of such works began to crystallise into the comic strip.

The speech balloon also evolved during this period, from the medieval origins of the phylacter, a label, usually in the form of a scroll, which identified a character either through naming them or using a short text to explain their purpose. Artists such as George Cruikshank helped codify such phylacters as balloons rather than as scrolls, although at this time they were still referred to as labels. Although they were now used to represent dialogue, this dialogue was still used for identification purposes rather than to create a dialogue within the work, and artists soon discarded them in favour of running dialogue underneath the panels. The speech balloons weren't reintroduced to the form until Richard F. Outcault utilized them as a means of establishing dialogue within his works.


See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Comics" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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