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The Art of the Funnies: An Aesthetic History (Studies in Popular Culture (Paperback))

By Robert C. Harvey

This paintings examines the cartoon all through its historical past for the weather that make cartoons essentially the most beautiful of the preferred arts. The caricature was once created by way of rival newspapers as a tool of their flow battles. It fast tested itself as not just an efficient gadget, but additionally as an establishment that quickly unfold to newspapers world-wide. This ancient research unfolds the background of the funnies and divulges the sophisticated artwork of ways the strips mix note and images to make their influence. The e-book additionally reveals new info and weighs the effect of syndication upon the medium. Milestones within the artwork of cartooning featured contain: Mutt and Jeff, Dick Tracy, Tarzan, Flash Gordon, Popeye, Krazy Kat, and others. more moderen classics also are integrated, reminiscent of Peanuts, Tumbleweeds, Doonesbury and Calvin and Hobbes.

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How Crane chanced upon this seminal creation is anyone's guess. If we take the other important moments in Crane's creative life as a guide, Easy was probably no  more than the accidental by­      Page 73 product of plot machinery cranking out story. Crane was the beneficiary of many such accidents. He had achieved syndication through a happy coincidence and  subsequently had simply fallen into doing a new kind of strip—more through frustrated disinterest in his own work, it would seem, than by conscious design. Crane was born in 1901 in Abilene, Texas, and raised in Sweetwater, forty miles west. An only child, he drew to amuse himself. By the time he was ten, he was  drawing comic strips. At fourteen, he signed up for the correspondence course in cartooning offered by the legendary Charles N. Landon. When he was nineteen, he  found himself in Chicago at the Academy of Fine Arts, where Carl Ed, who had just sold his Harold Teen to the Chicago Tribune, was one of his instructors. Crane  didn't stay in Chicago long: Ed had told him his work was excellent, so he returned to Texas, worked on a couple of papers, and then tried college. He wasn't good at  university. The dean of the University of Texas told him he was unsuited to remain a student. That life closed to him, Crane went to sea, serving on a freighter that went to  Europe and back, docking in New York on its return. There, Crane jumped ship to try newspapering again. He was hired by the New York World, where he worked  for a couple of years in the art department and assisted H. T. Webster, inking his Sunday page. Crane tried a panel cartoon, Music to the Ear, and sold it to United  Feature Syndicate. But when only two papers bought the feature, Crane had to agree with syndicate officials that it wasn't worth the effort of continuing to produce it. Sympathetic to his desire to draw a syndicated cartoon, a friendly United Feature editor suggested that Crane try to sell his panel to another syndicate among whose  features his small town humor might be more at home. Try NEA, he said. Enter, happy coincidence. The Newspaper Enterprise Association was based in Cleveland, and its art director was none other than Crane's former mail­order maestro, Charles N. Landon. nonetheless  operating his correspondence course on the side, Landon had developed an interlocking, reciprocal relationship between the course and the syndicate. When he saw a  talented student submitting work in the course, he waited until the youth graduated and then tapped him to do a feature for NEA. If the feature was successful, publicity  for the Landon course would point with pride to another graduate who'd made it big in cartooning. Merrill Blosser with Freckles and His Friends in 1915 was the  first beneficiary of this system, according to Landon's promotion, and he was joined over the years by Martin Branner, Paul Fung, Ralph Hershberger, Gene Byrnes,  and others. Crane knew nothing of this, of course. He simply sent his panel cartoon off to Cleveland. He heard nothing for six months.

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