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Matt Harris


My genre analysis topic was cartoons and the history of the comic strip. Comic strips first showed
themselves in 1894 when they were implemented by the newspaper of New York World, created by
JoesephJoseph Pulitzer, to gain a competitive edge over competing newspaper The Morning Journal. The
gamble worked and the New York World quickly started outselling its competitor. In response, The
Morning Journal announced that they were going to run a full color, weekly based comic supplement.
That announcement was the first of its kind and quickly threatened the success of the New York World.
The supplement would span 8 pages. and ran the now famous comic strip The Yellow Kidby Richard
Outcast. With the two big newspapers both starting to create comic strips, they needed writers to create
them. At the time, Both newspapers were fighting for the creative talent of a writer named Richerd
Outcast.Outcast at the time. The Morning Journal ended up enticing Outcast to write for them. His
comic, The Yellow Kid, was the first continuous comic character at the time and was set in a large single
scene instead of the narrative strip that is popular today. That comic strip started a genre that all others
following it would model itself after. The Yellow Kid became a template that writers would use use write
their own strips. When designing The Yellow Kid, In creating that strip, Outlast set an earthy, strictly
urban farce as the main, underlying theme which would later grow in complexity and become
more sentimental. As well as creating the backdrop for which all other comic strips would model
itself after, The Yellow Kid also made the speech bubble a standard when writing a comic strip. In
1894, Rudolph Dirks created the comic strip Katzenjammer Kids, which was based off of the comic
strip Max and Moritz. It would turn out to be a huge success and survived up until the 21st
century. The popularity of the comic strip skyrocketed after Katzenjammer Kids and the spread of
comic strips to other newspapers was rapid. The iconic black and white comic strip was introduced

in 1915 with the creation the comic strip Jeff and Mutt, created by Bud Fisher. From 1905 to the
1920s, the public would see the creation of most of the major categories that comic strips would
take on, like aviation and satire. Comic strips were a big success, especially with children. Publishers
took note of that and decided to find a way to use that success to generate a type of comic that was
specifically made for kids. Comic Strip writers started to look for inspiration wherever they thought they
could find it, eventually using the European' style of comics that were created in the 19th century. These
comics were book-length and would have far more content than the typical U.S comic strip. When the
U.S newspapers first started mass producing this new version of comic strip, they just rehashed entire
episodes of already-published comic-strips. As newspapers and comic strip writers got more expereinced
with this new style, they eventually evolved into their own style of writing. One of the main differences
between the original version of the comic strip and this new "comic book" was the difference in target
audience. Comic strips were created with the whole family in mind, that meant being sophisticated
enough to keep the teen and adult audiences interested by playing on pop-culture references and current
events while having an interesting, simple and humorous enough plot to make children keep coming back
for more. With the introduction of the comic book, it allowed writers to explore all avenues of characters
and plots. The first depiction of Superman, Batman and Spiderman were products of the unhinged
writing and became an instant success when they were created in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

The main purpose of this genre was to entice the publics interest in reading the newspapers. It
was a way to set the newspaper apart from the rest and get more sales, while advancing. If the customer
likes a certain comic that a newspaper has, the customer would be more likely to buy that newspaper
because of the comic it. Each writer never wrote the same way, so each comic was different. Based on
the writers writing style of writing, comic strips can have multiple effects. Some writers chose to create
their own world that could reflect the writer's. Others chose to write based off of real-life events that were

happening at that time . In Little Orphan Anne, the author, Harold Grey, chose to set it in a semi-fantasy
world, where good and evil are clear., With this distinct differnece between good and evil, Grey would
create characters that would assume "good" and "bad" character traits . For instance, not in the sense that
the good characters save the day from the bad ones, but in the sense that the good characters are
hardworking, courageous, pious characters, while the "bad" characters are lazy, cowardly and just overall
mean. In this comic, traditional values heavily impact the creation of these characters and are based off of
the believe that the good life is a patient, unassuming, well-ordered one. You had to work for what you
earned. Other strips, like Martin Michaels Winne Winkle, reflected changes in social norm. Created in
1920, the comic was a reflection of a post WWI era, where the role a typical women was supposed to
play was changing. Much like the industrial age of 1940, where women took on jobs that would be
normally done by a man during WWII, the role women played after WWI changed dramatically. With the
men being called to war, women had to fill the jobs that were typically held by men. With this expansion
of women taking on more jobs, Instead of working as a sweatshop laborer or in some kind of factory,
women started becoming secretaries, reporters and fashion designers. The language women used was less
formal than it once was and society started seeing women smoking on the streets, something that would
be highly looked down upon years before. Certain comic strips, like the popular Calvin and Hobbs
series, had characters that would appeal to the younger audience while adding undertones of maturity that
adults would understand. The topics that the two main characters, 6-yearold Calvin and his stuffed tiger
Hobbs, would talk about It made you think and often had you scratching your head in confusion as you
try and process how such young characters became surprisingly worldly. Comic strips were critically
acclaimed by most readers due to their ability to expand into multiple genres.

When the comic strip first came out, they were large, basically running the entire width of the
page and could only hold one to two comic strips at a time. Due to the time period, Because the first

comics came out at the turn of the 19th century, the characters looked and acted more proper. Each the
characters would be dressed in formal attire, usually a suit or dress, and would be in black and white.
Word bubbles would be used when a character is speaking, with the word bubbles having round edges
that made it seem "soft", or smooth. comic strip writer often had their individual design for their
drawings to reflect the individuality of that writer. For example, Little Orphan Annie makes use of
brilliant shading effects where the light will gradually evolve into darkness, allowing the reader to tell
where the light source is coming from in that frame. It also uses white, popped-out circles for eyes, much
like the book Coraline did with the black, button eyes. Comics often have transition or narratives boxes
that would be used when the comic had more than one central character that was not in the frame with the
other. They would be used to transition from one character to another or symbolize another event that is
occurring at the same time. They would be in a word box, normally in the top or bottom left hand corner
of the frame.

In my research, I found that comic strips use multiple discourse modes , but mostly narration
and Description. Some, such as political cartoons, use Argument to try and get their point across.
Narration is a key factor in comic strips because it allows the writer to create a short story that will entice
the reader. It gives the comic some depth and makes the reader feel like they're on the adventure with the
character. It also is a nice change of pace from the shorter 4-5 space strips that most comics are. When a
writer creates a comic with a relatively detailed story to it, the strip turns from a short little snippet into a
15-20 box adventure. The Calvin and Hobbs series that I talked about before can be used as an example.
Most of the Calvin and Hobbs comic strips are short, roughly 4-6 boxes. Whenever there is a strip where
Calvin's babysitter is involved, the strip gets significantly longer. Whether it's intentional or not is up for
debate, but the premise to almost every strip remains the same. There are also certain strips that show the
two main character riding down a hill on a wagon while discussing and contemplating big topics, such as

the meaning of life and if there is other life beyond our world. While that type of strip might not be
structured around a premise as much as others, narration still applies here because that particular strip
fulfills the most basic characteristic of narration; it starts at one point and ends at another. While the
story might not be in the places that the characters visit or actions that the characters have, narration is
still there.

2. Who is the intended audience?

For the first selection in my corpus,I chose the book Comic Art in History. I chose that
book because it gave The intended audience for Comic Art in History, in my opinion, are history
buffs and students who are working on projects. This bookThis book dives deep into the history of
comic strips, where each writer got their inspiration from and how the strip was influenced by the
modern world at the time. The book dives into detail of how each of the comic strips that were shown
in the book. It talks about the different writers, the history of the comic itself and how the comic
impacted other comics. It is a literal timeline of the comic strip that highlights the different comics that
had an impact on the genre. The reality that is being constructed is hard to tell. Because there are dozens
of different comics that are present, each of the comics creates a different reality. Some are based off of
the real world while others are created in a world that is modeled to fit someone's interpretation of the
real world. (Work in progress)

The next piece I chose for my corpus is

Becker, Stephen D. Comic Art in America; a Social History of the Funnies,

the Political Cartoons, Magazine Humor, Sporting Cartoons, and Animated
Cartoons. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1959. Print.
"Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson, February 18, 2015 Via @GoComics." GoComics. N.p., n.d. Web.
19 Feb. 2015.