I've been reading comic strips every since I can remember which would be over 50 years. I've seen good and bad strips come and go while others become mainstays of American culture. I've read a few books written about the history of comic strips but I've never read one that tackled the whole history of the them-until now.
Author Brian Walker and Abrams Books have compiled the definitive book about comic strips with over 1,300 images taken from the dawn of the comic strip until today's contemporary strips.
Beginning with earliest American comic strips dealing mostly with politics and social commentary, the book the traverses the decades up until just after WWII. Readers can watch the evolution of the comic strip and the various genres that were so popular with readers before the advent of the TV.
You'll discover strips that would be consider extremely racist and politically incorrect today such as the Yellow Kid and Sambo, to whimsical fantasy strips such as Little Nemo to adventure strips, family situation comedies, funny animals and more.
Comic strips were at their heyday especially during the 1920 through the 1940s and the printed adventures of favorite characters were followed each day by millions of fans.
With the end of WWII comic strips became much more topical and dealt with the absurdness of life, hot political topics and clever observations of everyday life. They also began to shrink in size as TV, movies and other forms of popular entertainment began to overshadow them.
Eventually strips shrank to the point where very little detail in the drawings and shorter dialogue became the norm. One-panel gags and visual puns soon replaced comic strip continuing storylines and character development. Instead of stories that ran for weeks, sometimes months at a time, comic strips evolved into jokes of the day.
To be sure many excellent strips are still being produced today-in dwindling numbers. With the advent of the internet news and other adventures of revenue newspapers are dropping like flies and so too are the comic strips they contain.
As an example my hometown's local newspaper recently cut the size of its Sunday comic strip supplement to less than half of its original size - containing far fewer strips to read.
But with the loss of one form of publication comes a newer more exciting form: the internet. Now millions can read new comic strips with past strips also available for reading. Even though the methods by which comic strips are presented to the public might have changed comic strips are still popular and will continue to be popular for years to come.
The Comics: The Complete Collection offers a warm and fuzzy trip down Memory Lane where old friends still live. If you are a true comic strip lover then you are sure to appreciate the love and effort that went into this definitive guide to the American comic strip.