By Robert C. Harvey
This paintings examines the sketch all through its historical past for the weather that make cartoons essentially the most attractive of the preferred arts. The sketch was once created via rival newspapers as a tool of their movement battles. It quick verified itself as not just an efficient gadget, but in addition 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 notice and photographs to make their effect. The ebook additionally reveals new details 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. newer classics also are incorporated, comparable to Peanuts, Tumbleweeds, Doonesbury and Calvin and Hobbes.
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Extra info for The Art of the Funnies: An Aesthetic History (Studies in Popular Culture (Paperback))
In the usual arrangement, the syndicate fielded a sales force to sell the feature to papers across the country, and it also distributed the feature (supplying mats or proofs) and kept the books. After the costs of distribution were deducted, the syndicate split the profits with the cartoonist. (When the cartoonist was guaranteed a salary, as most were, there were no "profits" to divide until a strip's circulation was great enough to earn more than that salary. ) In return for the financial commitment it made to selling and distributing a feature, a syndicate took ownership of the feature. This policy protected the syndicate's interests: if the cartoonist of a popular strip died, say, or failed to produce his work on schedule, the syndicate could continue to supply the feature to its clients by hiring another cartoonist. But the policy made the cartoonist, in some sense, a hired hand. Contractually, a syndicate could dismiss a cartoonist at whim. But few (if any) ever did: it was clearly in the best interests of the syndicate to retain the services of a cartoonist of a popular feature since it was his creative imagination that made the feature popular. Syndication was a mutually beneficial enterprise, but it pinched both parties to the arrangement. In the hope of great financial return, the syndicate risked its resources in a double gamble that a new strip would sell and that the cartoonist would then continue successfully to produce it; in order to reap the initial rewards, the creator of a comic strip had to give up all rights to his creation—including, usually, any share in the revenue generated by merchandising his characters (a circumstance that, once the merchandising mill began to grind for a popular strip, grated more and more on cartoonists, leading ultimately to contractual modifications). Uneasy though the relation Page 69 ship might have been, it was nonetheless better for most cartoonists than working in a single newspaper's art department, their historic niche before the era of syndication. The compensation from syndication had other implications than the purely financial, both for the cartoonist and for the medium. Unsyndicated cartoonists in the early days of comics were usually required by their papers to produce a great variety of comic illustrations. They may have produced a regular fullpage feature for the Sunday edition, but the rest of the week they drew sports cartoons, editorial or political cartoons, column decorations, ads, and miscellaneous fillers and features of all varieties. Once syndicated, a cartoonist escaped this gamut of illustrative labors and could devote his whole energy to the feature that was syndicated. With his creative energy thus focused on—even confined to—a single enterprise, the cartoonist was bound to improve the product: his imagination and invention had no other outlet. Syndicates became the forcing bed, too, for the growth of comics. The exclusive nature of the syndicate's contracts with their client papers encouraged a proliferation of comic strips.