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common roots, comic strips, cartoon animation, Comic books, waste of time

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Comics, series of drawings arranged to tell a story. Most comics also include some text, which appears as dialogue or captions. Comics typically feature a continuing cast of characters. The term comics comes from the first examples of the form, which were all humorous. While many comics remain focused on humor, others involve politics, human interest, suspense, adventure, or serious treatments of relationships.

In their most basic form, comics consist of simple line drawings rendering characters and scenes. They share common roots with the cartoon, a term that encompasses single-panel gag and editorial drawings as well as hand-drawn illustrations and advertisements. Comics are also related to animation, which is defined as motion pictures created by recording a series of still images, often drawings. Animated television shows and movies, sometimes called cartoon animation, are extremely popular. Many times the most popular comics are animated for TV or movies, or turned into live-action shows and motion pictures.

Newspaper comics, also called comic strips, typically appear in three or four square-shaped cells, called panels. The panels are arranged in a row and are read from left to right, like text. Comic books are booklet-length comics that are more stylized and tell a more involved story. They can be written in the same style as comic strips, but they also often feature panels of different shapes and sizes and are read both horizontally and vertically. Most daily newspaper comics are published six days a week in black and white, while those on Sunday tend to be in color. Most comic books are produced in color.

In the early 20th century, comics were accused of glorifying unsavory characters and thus encouraging children to misbehave. They were also condemned as being a waste of time. For several decades this view remained common. But in the 1960s people began to reevaluate comics and appreciate their artistic qualities. International comics conferences were organized, major art exhibitions devoted attention to comics, and comic art museums were founded. Comics are now regarded as one of the most significant forms of 20th-century culture.


Horn, Maurice

Editor of "The World Ecyclopedia of Comics" and author of "75 Years of the Comics" and "Women in the Comics".

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