ORIGINS of the American Comic Book
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BLBcomics-migration   
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Over in a thread in this "Gold" seciton, Richard Evans

sez not to trust my concepts on aspects of the comic book.

I beg to differ, but that is my own humble opine about comics history research projects

I have been involved with, and have even run "final say" inside Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide

being invited back there over 15 years now. Noting there seems to be an over-abundance of lost comics souls

who no longer use the incredible references in said august annual publication, a concept I can not fathom

as one then does not have an essential tool for this hobby, here are scans of the first half dozen pages for your edification. Quiz is next Tuesday.

 

Please note the upper right corner in this first section contains

the earliest known English language comic strip published known to exist

which dates to 1656 titled "God's Revenge For Murder" written by John Reynolds,

artist remains unknown much like Jack Kirby remains to most of the adherents

of the Marvel Universe these days 40 years after he left.

 

OverstreetVictorian-01_zps686ca75b.jpg

 

Here we have the cover of the first American published comic book dating to 1842.

 

OverstreetVictorian-02_zpsa936e5ec.jpg

 

Pictured on the next pages are America's 3rd comic book 1846

as well as George Cruickshank's 1849 clasic The Tooth-Ache

which opens like an accordian

 

OverstreetVictorian-03_zps5b9b00ca.jpg

 

On these pages are early American humor magazines beginning 1846

wherein aspects of comic strips evolved as well on the first hand side

the very first original 'earliest known' sequential comic book dating from 1849

titled Journey to the Gold Diggins By Jeremiah Saddlebags.

 

OverstreetVictorian-04_zps3bdeeef0.jpg

 

Have at it, hope you enjoy, learn a couple things along the way.

My first "origins of the comics" history article appeared in Overstreet #27

appearing back in 1997.

 

You might even consider purchasing Overstreets for each year

especially #32 thru #40 as the powers that be held me to 72 pages

those last few years before medical circumstance forced me to slow down.

Hence, in order to place "new" data in the articles, other material had to be

sacrificed on the alter.

 

In order obtain a more complete over view of America's

earliest comic books, one should read thru each article for a more complete

evolution as well as a lot of differing visual aid as there are thousands of comic

strips inside many hundreds of publications in using a myriad assortment of

formats.

 

All this talk of 1938-mid 1940s comic book "magazines" is some sort of

"Golden Age of Comics" is plain silly. Click on my website address below

where I cover the full gamut of American comic books from the 1840s thru to around 1981 or so.

Scarce and obscure runs my wagon there, if nothing else, scroll some pretty rare stuff you might not see the rest of your life.

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Cat-Man_America   
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[font:Times New Roman]Oh, the humanity! I thought that comic book creation is only 5000 years old and now Bob has convinced me it started with dinosaurs! [/font] :cry:

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Straw-Man   
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bob, ricky can speak for himself if/when he reads this, but my interpretation of what he was referring to in the 'frisco thread was not about trusting your knowledge of the genesis of comic books, but instead about what you have to say about books you are trying to sell.

 

bob, about trusting your knowledge of victorian era kinda stuff, what did you tell our former boardie those obidiah oldbooks you sold him were worth?

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Theagenes   
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Bob, welcome back. Jeff Shanks here. I haven't been around as much lately myself so I missed the SF thread until this morning. I just want to wish my best to Katy.

 

On the history of the "comic book" you I and debated this topic here years ago, and it is a fascinating one. But, ultimately it comes down to how one defines the term, and so there are as many "first comic books" as there are definitions for what a "comic book" is. Ultimately, it's a gradient as various forms of media that incorporate art and text evolved and changed over time. I think it's safe to say that when most people today use the word "comic book" they are talking about the modern comic book magazine format, which would make the first one FoP or maybe Detective Dan (if you're okay with the size). You use a much broader definition of "comic book" and that's okay too, just so everyone is clear on definitions.

 

I wanted to comment on a point you made in the SF/Reilly thread about the first use of word balloons being 450 BCE. I'd like to know more about this, but I would also suggest looking at the earlier Egyptian texts for prototypes. I know that Egyption wall painting and carving is often discussed as an early form of sequential art, but I would suggest that you also have examples of prototypical words balloons.

 

Below is reprint of the Ani Papyrus version of the Book of the Dead, which dates to the 19th Dynasty (ca. 1250 BCE). Not only is both the art and text integral to the larger narration and presented in sequential form (even in panels on some parts), but the small groupings of text near the figures heads represent dialogue that the figures are speaking. So while there is no actual "balloon" enclosing the text, those bits of dialogue next to the figures mouths certainly function in exactly the same way that word balloons do. Just something to consider.

 

bookofthedead04.jpg

 

bookofthedead05.jpg

 

The cool thing about these New Kingdom versions of the Book of the Dead is that they are not just wall carvings or paintings, but actual books in the form of scrolls. They are also not just one-off works of art, but a book which was produced in many copies. The original Ani Papyrus is actually nearly 80 feet long. This facsimile that I have is the Limited Editions Club version that came out in 1972 and it has a fold-out replica that is 17 feet long. So this would be the Archives/Masterworks reprint version of this ancient comic book. :)

 

 

bookofthedead01.jpg

 

bookofthedead02.jpg

 

bookofthedead03.jpg

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Cat-Man_America   
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bob, ricky can speak for himself if/when he reads this, but my interpretation of what he was referring to in the 'frisco thread was not about trusting your knowledge of the genesis of comic books, but instead about what you have to say about books you are trying to sell.

 

bob, about trusting your knowledge of victorian era kinda stuff, what did you tell our former boardie those obidiah oldbooks you sold him were worth?

 

[font:Times New Roman]This is a fascinating thread all unto itself, personal dramas notwithstanding.

 

I think we all agree that Bob's knowledge of comic history is to be reckoned with, ...it's his shorter term memory that's debatable.

 

Also, I meant no disrespect toward Bob in my teasing remark above nor do I lack sympathy for his and his daughter's medical issues. OTOH, there were numerous claims made in the Frisco thread that defy credulity.

 

Misstatements and embellishments can't be ignored because of the potential impact that unsubstantiated claims have on the marketplace. My 2c [/font]

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40YrsCollctngCmcs   
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Fantastic reproduction of the Book of the Dead. Can you imagine what it took to begin to be able to translate those hieroglyphics?

 

There was a great Vertigo comic a number of years ago called Egypt that I really enjoyed reading. It discussed some of this material.

 

Thanks for posting. At the end of the day your argument with respect to the origins of the graphic medium are the most cogent. There is a stream of artistic representation stretching back to the earliest cave paintings. They just didn't have the written language to add the word balloons or captions. It still told a story.

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RedFury   
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Not quite so old as the Egyptian Book of the Dead, but the Bayeux Tapestry clocks in at almost 1,000 years old. I got the chance to see it in person in the summer of 2011, and it's quite a sight. I kept telling my wife "This is a comic book!"

 

Bayeux Tapestry scene by scene

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shrunkenhead   
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I say we start a CGC petition so that they'll slab cuneiform tablets. :sumo:

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BOOT   
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Below is reprint of the Ani Papyrus version of the Book of the Dead, which dates to the 19th Dynasty (ca. 1250 BCE). Not only is both the art and text integral to the larger narration and presented in sequential form (even in panels on some parts), but the small groupings of text near the figures heads represent dialogue that the figures are speaking.

That is really fascinating - thanks for posting!

 

This comes from such a distant time and place - are you able to "read" this and follow the narrative?

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BOOT   
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Scarce and obscure runs my wagon there, if nothing else, scroll some pretty rare stuff you might not see the rest of your life.

 

Bob, it is great to see you posting again. Glad your hips are swinging again, and best wishes for your daughter's recovery.

 

While your desire to refute every criticism in understandable, please feel free to ignore the petty stuff. I'd rather see you post more about comics!

 

BTW, here is another great contribution Bob made to comics knowledge, right here on these boards:

 

Atomic and Nuclear Comics Genre Index

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BOOT   
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bob, about trusting your knowledge of victorian era kinda stuff, what did you tell our former boardie those obidiah oldbooks you sold him were worth?

I don't think you can lay the blame at Bob's feet for what that former boardie did. He was a one-man market drag as he overhyped his purchases so much. He didn't do a great job of defending his position, alienating many comic collectors in the process. And then he sold too soon after he acquired them. Had he bought an Action 1 and behaved the way he did, he might have taken a loss on that, too!

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shrunkenhead   
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bob, about trusting your knowledge of victorian era kinda stuff, what did you tell our former boardie those obidiah oldbooks you sold him were worth?

I don't think you can lay the blame at Bob's feet for what that former boardie did. He was a one-man market drag as he overhyped his purchases so much. He didn't do a great job of defending his position, alienating many comic collectors in the process. And then he sold too soon after he acquired them. Had he bought an Action 1 and behaved the way he did, he might have taken a loss on that, too!

 

Is this about the guy who did the "Superman vs. Obadiah" thread way back when?

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RedFury   
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bob, about trusting your knowledge of victorian era kinda stuff, what did you tell our former boardie those obidiah oldbooks you sold him were worth?

I don't think you can lay the blame at Bob's feet for what that former boardie did. He was a one-man market drag as he overhyped his purchases so much. He didn't do a great job of defending his position, alienating many comic collectors in the process. And then he sold too soon after he acquired them. Had he bought an Action 1 and behaved the way he did, he might have taken a loss on that, too!

 

Is this about the guy who did the "Superman vs. Obadiah" thread way back when?

Yep. Showcase4.

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shrunkenhead   
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Thanks, I must have missed the follow-up. After all that trumpeting of the glories of O.o., he cashed out, eh? :tonofbricks:

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Straw-Man   
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Thanks, I must have missed the follow-up. After all that trumpeting of the glories of O.o., he cashed out, eh? :tonofbricks:

 

at a huge loss. he may have been misinformed a bit about how important and valuable they were.

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shrunkenhead   
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Poor guy. :( An experience like that is likely to sour a newbie collector.

 

His zealotry about O.o. was strange to witness.

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Straw-Man   
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Scarce and obscure runs my wagon there, if nothing else, scroll some pretty rare stuff you might not see the rest of your life.

 

Bob, it is great to see you posting again. Glad your hips are swinging again, and best wishes for your daughter's recovery.

 

While your desire to refute every criticism in understandable, please feel free to ignore the petty stuff. I'd rather see you post more about comics!

 

BTW, here is another great contribution Bob made to comics knowledge, right here on these boards:

 

Atomic and Nuclear Comics Genre Index

 

bob, do NOT listen to this advice. your refutations make this board a better place.

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Straw-Man   
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Poor guy. :( An experience like that is likely to sour a newbie collector.

 

His zealotry about O.o. was strange to witness.

 

it was indeed; it was my boy pons that was his leading foil in that long debate. i always felt pons won rather handlily on the abstract front; the market agreed via the shellacking he took selling them.

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