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Name Comics
Released 1895

1938 comic book

1938 comic book

Comics are a medium / artform / literary form which combines words and pictures, usually in sequential panels (though single-panel cartoons exist as well) to tell a story or otherwise communicate information or entertainment.

Although some prior examples of sequential art exist going back centuries, comics in their modern form are considered to have begun with The Yellow Kid in 1895, which began the custom of using comic strips as a newspaper feature. Usually newspapers publish a page of comics daily, and a larger comic section in color on Sunday. Comics are also published in magazine or pamphlet form as comic books, a medium which began in the 1930s and became very popular with the rise of superheroes such as Superman. Longer-form comic books in trade-paperback or hardcover form are referred to as graphic novels.

Comics have a variety of literary, artistic, and narrative conventions unique to the medium, which are discussed (in comic-book form) by Scott McCloud in his book Understanding Comics (ISBN 0-87816-243-7). Another book of interest in learning about the history of the comics medium is The Rise of the Graphic Novel by Stephen Weiner (ISBN 1561-63702-5).

Like most media, comics have also developed electronic formats. Even before computers commonly had graphic support, a tradition of ASCII Art (or variants like ANSI Art) existed where pictures and cartoons were created entirely with text characters (which generally needed to be output in fixed-width characters rather than variable-width fonts, in order for the artwork to line up properly). The rise of computer graphics allowed fully graphical computerized comics, and once the Web caught on, web comics (such as xkcd, Penny Arcade, and Dinosaur Comics) became popular. Many newspaper comic strips are now readable online, and the major comic book publishers now offer electronic editions of their comics for sale, which can be read on computers, tablets, and e-book readers.

Electronic comics may exist in a variety of formats, including graphics, Electronic Publishing formats, and document formats. Comic Book Archive is a format for distribution of scanned-in comic books.


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