Comic History – A Comic Chronicles Installment

History of the Comic Strip (in a nutshell) Through 1960 

Rudolphe Töpffer – Primitive comic book creator. His books were known as “Graphic Literature”. He developed the concept of the cartoon face more than anyone previous.

With a jump from Töpffer to Hearst/Pulitzer/Outcault and with short blurbs listing some of the more important comics up to Mary Worth/Beetle Bailey/Pogo, with an emphasis on the adventure strips.

I am always leery when these histories claim firsts:

The character the Yellow Kid was the fist published comic strip to utilize the device of “the word balloon“. It was also the first strip to utilize modern printing techniques for color. Specifically, it was the first time a CMYK color printing press was utilized for a newspaper in regular circulation.

Though without research I cannot dispute the contentions.

© ERBurroughs Inc.

From 2019 at The Mill @ Johnson U. 


Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time

No.33: Hal Foster

In many respects his sense of perspective, anatomy, rendering of texture and instinctive subtlety has been the template and main influence for countless artists that came after him, from Frazetta to Kirby to Kubert amongst many.

His painterly, elegant, if not fastidious style and broad colour palette meant that Prince Valiant was practically unrivalled in terms of its visual presentation. His storytelling and world building also set the standard – one can look at a Prince Valiant page, not read a single word and know exactly what the story is, what the characters are thinking, and what their emotions are, while his mythical world seems palpably real, with backstory, humour and depth.

Thirty-three seems pretty high for Hal Foster.

© King Features Syndicate

Read those rated #101 – #33 (as yet) at Tripwire. 


The American Comic Book: 1929 – Present A Concise History

The last time there was a proper retelling of the “origins” of the “modern” comic book 1928-onwards in Steve Geppi’s Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide was in #40 published back in 2010. Here is a posting of said concise article…

© Robert Beerbohm & Richard D. Olson

Bob Beerbohm reproduces his and Richard D. Olson’s history of the modern comic book
from The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide #40 (2010) on his Facebook page.


The United Nations/Ranan Lurie International Political Cartoon Awards


In our obituary for Ranan Lurie Steve Greenberg and Rick McKee commented on Ranan’s UN Award. The awards ran from 2005 to 2017. The website is down, but through the efforts of The Wayback Machine it can be retrieved.


The Grand Comics Database also has a list of award and citation winners. 



The Library of American Comics, publisher of an excellent line of comic strip collections,
received an inquiry into the Bringing Up Father comic strip:

” … working with a patron to identify the names of the niece and nephew of Jiggs, in George McManus’s comic strip Bringing Up Father.  She [the patron] believes the niece’s name is Dimples, and the nephew’s name is Kumquat. In my attempt to identify these characters, I’ve searched the books below in the Library’s collection, but without success.”

Our newfound acquaintance went on: “I discovered that Hal Camp included characters with these names in the Bringing Up Father strip from about 1967 … but I could not confirm the characters’ relationship to Jiggs. I’m not sure if George McManus created these characters/names or if Hal Camp did. I wonder if you could help me confirm the names of Jiggs’s niece and nephew, if indeed they are related that way–as a matter of comic trivia and to satisfy my curiosity and that of our patron.”

The LOAC continued the request to comics fans:

We thought we’d share this with you, and ask all B.U.F. fans in our audience: do you know when Dimples and Kumquat were added to the strip?

I certainly can’t be sure of the first appearances of the nephew and niece,
but I did find some mid-1950s strips with the youngsters in them.


The earliest I found Kumquat was September 30, 1955, where
Kumquat is described as coming from Maggie’s side of the family.
While I find Dimples the following year on June 8, 1956.
Again, no guarantee that these are the characters’ debuts.

These daily strips would be by Bill Kavanagh and Vernon Greene.
A “Kumquat” appeared during the George McManus years (March 23, 1952), but not as a nephew:

© King Features Syndicate


Author and cartoonist Tim Negoda speaks about his comic strip Skunky Funkybuns

You may want to take comedian Dan Ronan’s sketch (from 2013) with a lot of skepticism. 

2 thoughts on “Comic History – A Comic Chronicles Installment

  1. I was actually slightly surprised there would be 32 people above Hal Foster.

    Prince Valiant, once you committed to it, always seemed special.

  2. Which is what I meant, Brett, I would think Hal Foster should be in the top dozen of the greatest comic artists.
    Now I’ve never been a fan of #34, so he could have been in the last half of the 101 artists.

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