Origins of Comics
Comics, as we know them today, originated at the end of the nineteenth century. They were exported from Europe to the United States. A new look was given to comics which was strictly American. Europeans remained true to the more traditional look.
However, by the 1920′s. European artists were developing the art more in accord with the American look. This trend was disrupted by the second world war. And so, the cultural trends of the post war period were an Americanization of the European comic market. There were certainly some comics that remained solely Europen, characterized by distinctive features, that remained clear of any American influence.
When defining a comic strip or comic book, it is important to consider its deeper meaning. A simple definition would be a series of images in sequence that depict a story. A more complete definition would require that it must elicit a response in the reader. While the information is relaxing or informing, it must do so within a set of norms and values.
Looking historically at the possible beginning of comics, we can consider the prehistoric cave paintings. True communication took place through a series of pictures which would put them in the category that meets the definition of comics.
The ancient Egyptians used hieroglyphics to count the harvest, register the amount of tax paid and to organize trades. Although these symbols do not fit the classical definition of comics because either pictures or language is missing, they did tell a story.
Another example of the use of comics in other eras is the Bayeux Tapestry, an embroidery created in the eleventh century. It celebrated the conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy. The linen canvas was made after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. It was seventy meters long and told a complete story.
Comics went though a big change, both during and after the second world war. After a period of not meeting with acceptance and even being banned, the comic industry began to flourish again.
The time period between 1930 and 1951 has been called the Golden Age of comic books. It was during this time that the popularity of comic books was enormous. Lots of adults looked back at this time as a pleasant and memorable part of childhood. This opinion was not always shared by parents and society as a whole. Comic books were considered a bad influence by some.
Today, comic books enjoy a stable position in the present culture. For the most part, comics remain a leisure pursuit although they often contain a message for the reader.
Today’s comics are produced all over the world. They are accepted as a part of the culture, and have even become the subject of academic research.