Golden Age Comic Strips
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I've just started reading (for the first time) Steranko's History of Comics and found the chapter detailing the impact, influence and enormous success of the early comic strips in the late 1920s through the early 1930s fascinating. Growing up in the 1970s with the likes of Family Circus and the Wizard of Id, I never realized how wildly popular these early strips were. I'm considering picking up some of the collected reprints and was wondering if anyone had any recommendations.

Foster? Caniff? Hogarth? Gould? Raymond?

Tarzan? D. Tracy? Buck Rogers? Flash Gordon? Terry and the Pirates? Prince Valiant?

And lastly, for those who have read them, do the stories/art still hold up today?

Edited by Black_Adam
Won't let me add d*ck

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I recently was gifted a collection of Will Goulds Red Barry and I really enjoyed it.As far as holding up today,the portrayal of people of  east Asian descent is a little hard to get by.Art and story was great,dark and brooding,very noir.

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1 minute ago, Marty Mann said:

The Daily Comic Strips were WONDERFUL!

Marty

What was your favourite Marty?I have a few 1940's pages and for the black and white daily I love the Buck Rogers best.I have one Raboy Flash Gordon Sunday colour,and wow,what a time to read the funnies it must have been!

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I'd suggest the following as a starting point of fun reads, great art and influence on society and comic books:

  • Little Nemo
  • Krazy Kat
  • Flash Gordon
  • Tarzan (Foster and Hogarth)
  • Prince Valiant

There are many important comic strips not on the list so the above is neither complete nor representative of all the good stuff that was done.

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16 minutes ago, adamstrange said:

I'd suggest the following as a starting point of fun reads, great art and influence on society and comic books:

  • Little Nemo
  • Krazy Kat
  • Flash Gordon
  • Tarzan (Foster and Hogarth)
  • Prince Valiant

Great selection.

I would add for the triple crown: 1) great cartooning, 2) readability, and 3) influence is Captain Easy by Roy Crane. The Sundays collected by Fantagraphics are superb.

On the funny side, check out Polly and her Pals by IDW. They are laugh out loud funny.

Less influential but such a nice read is Walt & Skeezix a.k.a. Gasoline Alley though this is already steering away from your initial question. Can't call this influential to the comics field.

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5 hours ago, Scrooge said:

I would add for the triple crown: 1) great cartooning, 2) readability, and 3) influence is Captain Easy by Roy Crane. The Sundays collected by Fantagraphics are superb.

This one was the only one I struggled with and almost included it.  It's the first great adventure strip and the style was very influential on the comic book artists; Shuster's art was highly derivative of Crane.

I just noticed that I left off Terry and the Pirates.  That's just bad proof-reading on my part as I thought I included it.

Edited by adamstrange

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9 hours ago, Black_Adam said:

I've just started reading (for the first time) Steranko's History of Comics and found the chapter detailing the impact, influence and enormous success of the early comic strips in the late 1920s through the early 1930s fascinating. Growing up in the 1970s with the likes of Family Circus and the Wizard of Id, I never realized how wildly popular these early strips were. I'm considering picking up some of the collected reprints and was wondering if anyone had any recommendations.

Foster? Caniff? Hogarth? Gould? Raymond?

Tarzan? D. Tracy? Buck Rogers? Flash Gordon? Terry and the Pirates? Prince Valiant?

And lastly, for those who have read them, do the stories/art still hold up today?

Yes, all of those. And yes to the art and stories. I've been reading through Prince Valiant lately and really enjoying it. You can see a few pages of it in the recent posts in my 'AJD's comic notebook' thread.

Edit: to second what the duck said, the Little Nemo strips are amazing and quite trippy for the time. And while I'm here, Herriman's Krazy Kat has an odd charm to it as well - it's far, far better than the Dell comics with the same characters that came later.

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Thanks to all for the great recommendations with an extra big thank you to @sfcityduck for his detailed reply. As suggested, I have ordered the 1st 4 volumes of Prince Valiant from Amazon. I will also be checking out my library as I know they have a large comic section and am sure I have seen a Little Nemo (not the fish) book there. 

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16 hours ago, porcupine48 said:

What was your favourite Marty?I have a few 1940's pages and for the black and white daily I love the Buck Rogers best.I have one Raboy Flash Gordon Sunday colour,and wow,what a time to read the funnies it must have been!

There were so many...

TRACY...JOE PALOOKA...LI'L ABNER...TERRY AND THE PIRATES...THE PHANTOM...BLONDIE...BRINGING UP FATHER (MAGGIE & JIGGS)...

and of course on Sunday PRINCE VALIANT...and THE SPIRIT.

I read them all!

Marty

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7 hours ago, Black_Adam said:

Thanks to all for the great recommendations with an extra big thank you to @sfcityduck for his detailed reply. As suggested, I have ordered the 1st 4 volumes of Prince Valiant from Amazon. I will also be checking out my library as I know they have a large comic section and am sure I have seen a Little Nemo (not the fish) book there. 

You're not going to be disappointed!  Telerites is absolutely right that a lot of comic artists were inspired by and swiped Foster.  But very very few could draw in the Foster style with minimal clean lines that created incredible detail.  Frazetta and Wood, when they they put in the effort, could reach that level of detail and composition - but very few others.  Too often, artists just swiped Foster's compositions because, well, he was the best and there were so many that it made a comic book artist under a deadline's life much easier.  Moldoff's early Hawkman stories often swiped Foster and Raymond.  Swiping was common, and swiping from Foster seemed especially popular. Examples:

Kane swiping Foster's Tarzan:

Image result for Foster swipes

Some say the whole Batman origin story was a swipe of Prince Valiant (I say it was inspiration).

Wood swiping Foster's Prince Valiant:

Image result for Foster swipes

 

 

 

Edited by sfcityduck

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17 hours ago, Black_Adam said:

I'm considering picking up some of the collected reprints and was wondering if anyone had any recommendations.

Foster? Caniff? Hogarth? Gould? Raymond?

Tarzan? D. Tracy? Buck Rogers? Flash Gordon? Terry and the Pirates? Prince Valiant?

Yes

Well, except for Tracy.

17 hours ago, Black_Adam said:

And lastly, for those who have read them, do the stories/art still hold up today?

The art of Foster, Caniff and Raymond certainly do.

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16 hours ago, Scrooge said:

Less influential but such a nice read is Walt & Skeezix a.k.a. Gasoline Alley though this is already steering away from your initial question. Can't call this influential to the comics field.

Not only was Gasoline Alley extremely well written, but it was very ground breaking and influential.  Having the characters age in real time was revolutionary. 

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2 hours ago, sfcityduck said:

Of course, Kirby also swiped Foster for the Demon.  Foster:

Prince Valiant (December 25, 1937)

Kirby:

The Demon #1

Now that I had no idea.  

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