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American comics

Related: American culture - comics - EC Comics - Comics Code - "the pulps" - underground comics - Robert Crumb - John Willie

Cover of Superman #14
image sourced here.

American comic books

American comic books are typically small magazines containing fictional stories in the artistic medium of comics.

Throughout their history, a huge number of comic books have been produced in the United States. It is difficult to say much in general about them, because of their huge range in quality, subject matter and audience through the past. However, a number of historical changes have influenced American comic books in general at different times. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_comic_book [Apr 2005]

The Golden Age of Comic Books

The Golden Age of Comic Books was a period in the history of American comic books, generally thought as lasting from 1938 until the early 1950s, during which comic books enjoyed a surge of popularity, the genre of the superhero was invented and defined, and many of comic books’ most perennially popular superheroes debuted. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Age_of_Comic_Books [Apr 2005]

Mark Ryden (1963 - )

via http://www.zoorender.com/zoomotion/html/G03.htm [Feb 2005]

Richard Corben

Richard Corben
image sourced here.

Richard Corben (born November 1, 1940) is an American comic book artist best known for his illustrated fantasy stories in Heavy Metal magazine. He was born on a farm in Anderson, Missouri. He studied at the Kansas City Art Institute, graduating in 1965.

His best known property is Den, a fantasy series about the adventures of a young underweight nerd who travels to the other world of Neverwhere, a fantasy universe taking inspirational nods from Robert E. Howard's Cimmeria and H.P. Lovecraft's horror dimensions. There, the boy becomes a naked muscleman who has erotic adventures in a world of outrageous dangers, hideous monsters and buxom naked women who lustfully throw themselves at him. This story was adapted in a highly abbreviated form in the animated film, Heavy Metal. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Corben [May 2005]

see also: heavy metal - fantasy - comics - American comics

Heroines in pulp

Femme Fatales, Pulp's Crime-Fighting Heroines

The Pulps were a remarkable phenomenon that lasted, depending on how one defines them, from 1896 to 1954 and perhaps beyond. They were all story magazines printed on the cheapest paper imaginable by publishers so cheap they won't go the few extra dollars to have the edges trimmed. They sold in the tens of thousands, occasionally in the hundreds of thousands. They were then what television is today -- the dominate form of mass entertainment. Opinion is divided as to when the heigh-day of the pulps was. Some would say it was during the teens and twenties when general fare, family oriented titles like Argosy had their highest sales. Others hold for the thirties when the pulps exploded into a hundred different titles catering to an incredible diverse number of specialized markets. There were Western and Detective pulps, Sports and Romance, Science Fiction and Adventure. And the truly strange, like Zeppelin Stories which only printed stories about the great airships and Submarine Stories where sailors never saw the light of day.

Best remembered from those days however were the Hero Pulps -- magazines devoted to the novel length exploits of fantabulous characters like Doc Savage -- the Man of Bronze or The Spider -- Master of Men, The Shadow or Operator #5, a spy who monthly saved the country from foreign invasion. There were G-Men like Dan Fowler and war heros like G-8 or The Lone Eagle. There were so many different kinds hero pulps, each trying to find its special niche that occasionally a woman character would come forth -- only occasionally, because this was a man's world -- but these characters are as fascinating as any, and perhaps more so because they clearly were working against type and cultural expectations. There were basically three types of stories lead by women. Those where she is the lead character in the lead story in a pulp, those where she is the lead character in a series and finally where she is a prominent character in a series not her own. I call these The Adventuresses, The Detectives and The Girlfriends. Follow the links below to learn more about these wonderful, heroic Women of the Pulps! --http://home.sprynet.com/~beb01/femme.htm

Krazy and Ignatz 1925-1926: "There is a Heppy Land Furfur A-waay" (Krazy Kat) () - George Herriman

  • Krazy and Ignatz 1925-1926: "There is a Heppy Land Furfur A-waay" (Krazy Kat) () - George Herriman [Amazon.com]
    In 1999, the Comics Journal named Herriman's Krazy Kat the greatest comic strip of the 20th century. It's never been too well known (in the course of its 30-year run, it often survived only because of William Randolph Hearst's support), but cartoonists more or less agree it's a masterpiece. The premise couldn't be simpler: Krazy Kat loves Ignatz Mouse, who rejects the Kat's affections by throwing a brick at him? her? Krazy is both and neither whereupon Offisa Pupp arrests Ignatz. This was the plot of nearly every episode, but the beauty was in the variations Herriman could work on it and in his delirious sense of style. The primal comedy played out in thousands of ways, drawn with an incomparable design sense against a gorgeously stylized backdrop of the American Southwest and delivered with Herriman's hilarious dialogue half invented, half quasi-Joycean wordplay ("Ooy-yooy-yooy wot a goldish oak finish like a swell mihoginny piyenna l'il dusky dahlink!!!"). This first in a new series of reprints (designed by Chris Ware and edited by Bill Blackbeard) picks up where the series published by Eclipse Books left off 10 years ago; it'll cover two years in each volume. This 1925-1926 collection shows how Herriman began to stretch out, opening up his layouts and experimenting with storytelling technique and the basic conventions of the comic strip itself. --2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

    The Adventures of Phoebe Zeitgeist

    Sample from The Adventures of Phoebe Zeitgeist (1962) - Michael O'Donoghue and Frank Springer
    image sourced here.

    The Adventures of Phoebe Zeitgeist, a comic strip serial (or its title heroine) by Michael O'Donoghue and Frank Springer that first appeared in The Evergreen Review. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeitgeist [Aug 2005]

    The second sample, from the comic strip "The Adventures of Phoebe ZeitGeist", written by Michael O'Donoghue (later a writer for Saturday Night Live) and drawn by Frank Springer, and published in Evergreen Review in 1962, employs a figurative means of distinguishing speech, say, from narrative. --http://www.haigaonline.com/FINALHAIGATALKVOLII.html [Aug 2005]

    Evergreen Review
    Evergreen Review was a literary magazine published by Grove Press in the late 1950s and 1960s.

    Its eclecticism can be seen in the issue from March-April 1960, which included work by Albert Camus, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Bertolt Brecht, and LeRoi Jones, as well as Edward Albee's first play, The Zoo Story. The Camus piece was a reprint of "Reflections on the Guillotine" twice, first published in English in the Review in 1957, and reprinted on this occasion as their "contribution to the world-wide debate on the problem of capital punishment and, more specifically, the case of Caryl Whittier Chessman".

    Although primary a literary magazine, Evergreen Review always contained numerous illustrations. In its early years, these were generally artistic; they also included a small number of cartoons. By the mid-1960s, a lot of the illustrations were photographs or an erotic—arguably of a pornographic— nature. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evergreen_Review [Aug 2005]

    see also: American comics - Evergreen Review - 1962

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