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Posts Tagged ‘comic strips

A Matter of Taste…

 

Clement K. Shorter, Vanity Fair (1894)

Sometime editor of the Illustrated London News and authority on the Brontës and Napoleon, Clement K. Shorter was in the middle of a flourishing career when his list of the “hundred best novels ever written” appeared in the monthly journal The Bookman. He doesn’t explain what exactly makes a book one of the “best”, only that he has deliberately limited himself to one novel per novelist. Living authors are excluded – although he cannot resist adding a rider of eight works by “writers whose reputations are too well established for their juniors to feel towards them any sentiments other than those of reverence and regard”…

Names and dates are as Shorter gives them:

1. Don Quixote – 1604 – Miguel de Cervantes

2. The Holy War – 1682 – John Bunyan

3. Gil Blas – 1715 – Alain René le Sage

4. Robinson Crusoe – 1719 – Daniel Defoe

5. Gulliver’s Travels – 1726 – Jonathan Swift

6. Roderick Random – 1748 – Tobias Smollett

7. Clarissa – 1749 – Samuel Richardson

8. Tom Jones – 1749 – Henry Fielding

9. Candide – 1756 – Françoise de Voltaire

10. Rasselas – 1759 – Samuel Johnson

11. The Castle of Otranto – 1764 – Horace Walpole

12. The Vicar of Wakefield – 1766 – Oliver Goldsmith

13. The Old English Baron – 1777 – Clara Reeve

14. Evelina – 1778 – Fanny Burney

15. Vathek – 1787 – William Beckford

And those lucky living eight:

An Egyptian Princess – 1864 – Georg Ebers

Rhoda Fleming – 1865 – George Meredith

Lorna Doone – 1869 – R. D. Blackmore

Anna Karenina – 1875 – Count Leo Tolstoi

The Return of the Native – 1878 – Thomas Hardy

Daisy Miller – 1878 – Henry James

Mark Rutherford – 1881 – W. Hale White

Le Rêve – 1889 – Emile Zola

Read the full story and see the whole list at the TLS: “Not the hundred best novels?

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As we marvel at the power of perspective, we might recall that it was on this date in 1894 that the first multi-panel comic strip ran in a newspaper: “Origin of the Species, or the Evolution of the Crocodile Explained,” by Richard F. Outcault, appeared in Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World.  Outcault went on to introduce the speech balloon in the wildly-popular The Yellow Kid, and later still, created Buster Brown.

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Written by LW

November 19, 2013 at 1:01 am

The Truth, Some of the Truth, Some of the Time…

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“The problem with Internet quotations is that many are not genuine.”
– Abraham Lincoln

from Clayton Cramer, via Tomorrow Museum.

As we engage the elements of epistemology, we might recall that it was on this date in 1937 that Hal Foster debuted his long-running comic strip Prince Valiant in the Days of King Arthur, or more familiarly Prince Valiant.  Foster had earlier distinguished himself drawing Tarzan; when he pitched his original idea to William Randolph Hearst, the baron was so impressed that he (uncharacteristically) gave Foster full ownership of the strip.

The Arthurian saga is clearly meant to take place in the mid-Fifth century, but Foster juiced both the story and its setting with anachronistic elements: Viking longships, Muslims, alchemists and technological advances not made before the Renaissance all play roles; while many of the the fortifications, armor and armament used are from the High Middle Ages.

The strip continues to this day, now in the hands of Mark Schultz and Gary Gianni… and is available on the verisimilitudinally-challenged internet.

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B.C. (and H.)…

Readers will recall that before the exquisite Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson drew political cartoons

Before that, he drew for his college newspaper, The Kenyon Collegian

These and more, from every stage of Watterson’s wonderful career, at Rare Bill Watterson Art.

As we remember that this was why we used to subscribe to newspapers, we might send birthday smiles to another Ohioan, humorist and cartoonist James Thurber; he was born (in Columbus) on this date in 1894.

Q. No one has been able to tell us what kind of dog we have. I am enclosing a sketch of one of his two postures. He only has two. The other one is the same as this except he faces in the opposite direction. – Mrs EUGENIA BLACK

A. I think that what you have is a cast-iron lawn dog. The expressionless eye and the rigid pose are characteristic of metal lawn animals. And that certainly is a cast-iron ear. You could, however, remove all doubt by means of a simple test with a hammer and a cold chisel, or an acetylene torch. If the animal chips, or melts, my diagnosis is correct.

- The Thurber Carnival (1945)

…Then he must be the Mark Twain of comic strips…

“If there is a Huckleberry Finn of comic strips, this is it”
– Lee Salem, President of Universal Press Syndicate (as quoted here)

It’s been 15 years since Bill Watterson decided to retire “the terrible tyke” and his tiger.  Now thanks to Cleveland.com, the first interview with Calvin’s creator since 1989.

There’s even a peek at some of Watterson’s pre-strip work as an editorial cartoonist.  For instance:

As we await the commemorative stamp that’s due out this summer, we might recall that it was on this date in 1957 that the first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus (SSN-571), logged its 60,000th nautical mile– thus matching the endurance of the fictional Nautilus described by Jules Verne in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

The imitator

The inspiration

A Fiorello LaGuardia for our times…

The decline of the daily press in the U.S. is a problem of many dimensions– among them, the question of the funny papers:  if newspapers fail, where will one get one’s comic strips?  The likely answer, one reckons, is the web…  and happily, there are several sites featured earlier in (R)D– e.g., here– stepping into the breech.

But what of history?  Where will one find the best strips of the past?  Happily, the web is responding here too.  Mr. ilovecomix (Steve Cottle) has created a wonderful archive of daily and weekly strips from throughout the history of the comics.

From the sublime…

Click to access a larger format

to the ridiculous…

click for access to a larger format

Visit ilovecomix and revel in the ink!

As we choke back our chortles, we might remark that this is the birthday (1815) of George Boole, the British mathematician and philosopher who developed what’s now known as Boolean Algebra (Boolean Logic) and was one of the fathers of symbolic logic… thus was (with an eye to each of those contributions), a central contributor to the foundation on which all of modern computing is based…  and thus, on which the web (if not the narrative logic of the comics it makes available) depends.

George Boole

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