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Comic History Part 1

July 2006

This is the start of a collection of illustrated notes about the history of comics. The source material for the history is Roger Sabin's 'Comics, Comix and Graphic Novels: A History of Comic Art' 1996, published by Phaidon. Sabin has created a chronological tour of English and American comics since the first mass reproduced images with words and the first recurrent character came into existence. The last part of the book does make reference to comics in Europe and Manga.

These notes, which attempt to describe chapter one of Sabin's book, start with some early woodcut images that show grim executions in England. Then I go on to show how the medium progressed to the point that Sabin considers to be the first comic, which contains a recurring character called 'Ally Slopper'. The rest of the chapter deals with developments of English illustrated mass produced images, which range from funny (for children) to cutting satires. Finally there is a glimpse at the early comic strips some American newspapers produced for children.

These notes are on business cards and so the challenge is to make the text readable, whilst packing as much information into each card as possible whilst still make it look visually interesting. I fail this challenge on a few of these cards but I blame the equipment.

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