McManus is a Copacetic Favorite and one of the all time greats, the founder of the (co-opted by the Europeans) Ligne Claré (clear line to us Yanks) school of art now most closely associated with Hergé. All hail the Library of American Comics series currently being published by IDW for not only bringing this classic strip to a new generation of readers, but for producing in the process what might very well be the best single collection of the work of George McManus ever released! This collection presents several distinct continuities – including what may be the single most famous, the cross country tour (that includes a stop in, you guessed it, Pittsburgh, PA) – all from the glory days of the strip: the late 1930s - early 1940s. Humor abounds in the domestic comedy plot lines that both prefigured and influenced the sit-com format that has been a staple of television programming from the days of I Love Lucy through to The Simpsons: all these shows have roots in Bringing Up Father. But the true joy of this strip is in the quality of the line. The comics heir to the high value placed on line by the fin de siclé Art Nouveau movement – as well as the Art Deco movement that came in its wake – McManus, along with – during the latter part of his career – his able assistant Zeke Zekley, crafted a drawing technique that provided all necessary visual information in the outline -- no messy cross-hatching, shading or chiaroscuro for these guys – no! – just a clear, precise line, thank you. McManus was a true comics original and hugely influential. The work of artists as diverse as Carl Barks and Joost Swarte, and many others in between, show the strong stamp of McManus's artistic influence. You owe it to yourself to at least take a look at the work of this master, and, with the fine choice of work, excellent reproduction, and copious historical material, this volume is the clear and obvious place to start.
This is the first volume in what we hope will be an ongoing series of George McManus's immortal classic newspaper comics series, Bringing Up Father. It is also a subset of an already ongoing series from NBM, Forever Nuts, dedicated to collecting "classic screwball strips." Already available in this series are the initial volumes of Mutt 'n' Jeff and Happy Hooligan. While we have nothing disparaging to say about these two, we feel compelled to point out that, while the early strips on display in this volume are indeed exemplars of the form, Bringing Up Father is much more than simply a screwball strip. Together with Chic Young's Blondie, it pioneered the family sitcom that went on to become a staple of radio and then television entertainment that continues to this day (interestingly, The Simpsons now holds the title of the longest running sitcom of all time; perhaps the roots of the sitcom form in comics has somehow contributed to The Simpsons' longevity...). And not only that, George McManus is the undisputed progenitor of what has come to be known as the clear line school of comics. While this school came to be codified in France – hence its moniker, ligne claire (of which "clear line" is a translation) – it all begins here with these strips collected here – all dailies from the first two years of the strip, 1913 & 1914. McManus is more than just the originator of the clear line, he is also its undisputed master. The strips here are just the beginning: over the next thirty years he perfected a smooth clear line that continues to set the standard by which all others are measured. Here's hoping we get a chance to see more of it in print soon!
edited, compiled and annotated by Richard L Graham Government Issue Comics provides readers with a 300 page overview of over sixty years of government sponsored comics. The numerous and various branches of the US government managed, unsurprisingly, to recruit some of the top comics talent of its time, and in these pages you will find work by Will Eisner, Milton Caniff, Al Capp, Joe Kubert and Kurt Schaffenberger – and Charles Schulz, Walt Kelly, Chic Young and George McManus (and Al Wiseman!), along with a host of anonymous unknowns, all working on behalf of educating their fellow citizens on a (very) wide array of issues. Richard Graham, an associate professor and media services librarian at the University of Nebraska has put together a broad survey of this massive but under-appreciated aspect of comics history. It is organized into four categories: military; economics and employment; civil defense, safety and health; and landscapes and lifestyles. Each of these sections begins with an introductory essay by Graham that puts the comics in context. Readers with Q-Code readers will, in theory, be able to access a large online archive of these comics by scanning the digital access code at the end of the book (or, go here and download PDF files of some of the complete comics and start reading now; just scroll down...). Yes, history can be fun! And now for less, as it is now on sale!
recruited from Germany's highly respected cartoon journals. Feininger, an American of German extraction, living in Berlin and Paris since his teens, seemed especially well-suited to bridging the divide between the old world and new. Early in the twentieth century, European artists seemed one step less reluctant than their more culturally anxious American peers to go slumming in the "Low" arts. Only a handful of American painters of the period dabbled in cartooning (George Luks' work on the Yellow Kid comes to mind) but lots of esteemed European modernists —Picasso, Toulouse Lautrec, Gris, Kirchner, Kupka, Grosz, to name just a few—drew cartoons for publication either early in their careers or throughout. Feininger brought the most sophisticated tendencies in painting into the fledgling Funny Pages; his comics are thoroughly informed by the currents of cubism, expressionism and Jugendstijl, as well and evince the fascination for Japanese wood block prints that he shared with many Postimpressionists.From Airships, Martians and Selenites by Alfredo Castelli
Dream-premises offered the greatest thematic and artistic freedom, but realization of character and narrative was relatively restrictive in this genre. This seeming anomaly is explained by the exigencies of the comic-strip format – which was at once liberating and demanding. Later strips in, say, the adventure, crime, or detective genres, could leave story-elements to the readers' imaginations: they had to, in many cases. In dream strips, to leave story elements unexplained, or mysterious, or deeply unknown, is to compromise the integrity of the function of most narratives.Dreams are fragments, and seldom have internal logics, or at least coherent narrative thrusts. A commercial comic strip, however, clearly has a beginning, and must have an ending, even a cliffhanger. Further, the reader is in the unique position of being the audience – dream voyeurs we can consider ourselves – but also totally seeing everything the dreamer sees. This can be a pixilated ambiguity pregnant with nuance, carried to the extreme in Barnaby and Calvin and Hobbes, when readers are never quite sure if we view "reality" or the protagonists' fantasies.