Saturday, December 25, 2010

"The Art of-" A Follow-up...

As promised when I wrote the blog dealing with Lyonel Feininger and the Comic Strip, here is my follow-up:
In the 1930's, one of America's more powerful authors (sadly, I cannot remember who it was), emitted a "warning" not to consider the comic strip "as anything less than an art form of strong import; nothing less."
I consider the comic strip as just that, simply due to the impact it had upon my consciousness as a child, and how it was part of my daily existence; my constantly becoming totally lost in the many worlds created by extravagantly gifted artists.
As I look back, the most singular strength projecting from these artists was the total; the absolute purity of the cosmos created by each creator; for instance, the mysterious, sometimes dark world of Little Orphan Annie never filtered itself into the wacky, inept world of Mutt and Jeff - each comic strip was in a world of its own, let alone the total uniqueness, stylistically, of each character.
Here is a partial list of the comic strips, emanating from my experience, containing the totally insulated character of the Unique, as represented in the strips mentioned below:
Do keep in mind that the following comic strips appeared before Walt Disney...
Hans Und Fritz, which became the Katzenjammer Kids I had mentioned in the Feininger article, and still is extant, making it, probably, the longest existing comic strip in history.
Little Nemo (I remember seeing examples of this strip going back to 1908!).
Mutt and Jeff; the Gumps; Polly and her Pals; Moon Mullins; Bringing Up Father; Gasoline Alley, Toonerville Trolley.
The following strips appeared around the advent of Disney; namely, the late twenties and early thirties: Skippy; Little Orphan Annie; Dick Tracy.
The impact of Little Orphan Annie can be certified by the musical "Annie," which was created, of course, generations after the comic strip character.
I'm sure that you can find examples of these strips by way of, say, Google.
Oh - by the way; the reason I decided to write about this subject in the first place, was the word Google - to explain, when I was a child, I loved a character created before Disney. His name was Barney Google. Do look him up.
To encapsulate, see if you agree with my suggestion of the art value connected to the comic strip. Examine the uniqueness of each character; the superb techniques of these artists, in their abilities to project the core character of each strip; look at the scintillating color saturation employed by the artist; lastly, delight in the story value surrounding each of these one-of-a-kind characters.
Have fun!

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