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Posts Tagged ‘comics history

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?


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.






Written by (Roughly) Daily

November 19, 2013 at 1:01 am

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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