Teleologies of the American Comic

Title

Teleologies of the American Comic

Creator

E Mariah Spencer

Description

"Teleologies of the American Comic" is a self-reflexive survey of American comics from the late nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. It examines the theoretical frameworks of both technological determinism and social constructionism, while attempting to reduce each approach to its simplest terms. Using a reductive method, this survey examines the useful and aesthetic inventions that are necessitated by the modern American comic. Building on this, we then reflect on how technological and cultural elements have worked together in order to create this unique and interesting medium.

Technologies and Events in This Collection

An Abbreviated (Pre)History of Text and Fixed Image Media<br />
810 Book of Kells [Illuminated Manuscript] -Source Copy University of Chicago 1665 Aesop’s Fables [Metal Etching Print] -Source Copy EEBO -Etchings by Wenceslaus Hollar -Published by John Ogilby 1733 Opera of Horace [Metal Engraving Print ] -Source…

Scott McCloud publishes Understanding Comics  and academic study begins in earnest.
Alan Moore, author of Watchmen and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, endorses McCloud's book with this dazzling review: “Understanding Comics is quite simply the best analysis of the medium that I have ever encountered. With this book Scott…

Marvel Comics pulls digitally released comics in favor of brick and mortar stores.
"Releasing new comics digitally, goes the theory, would erode the shops’ customer base. So sacrosanct is this tenet that in November 2010, when Marvel accidentally released the second issue of Ultimate Comics Thor digitally a week before it was…

Will Eisner popularizes the term ‘graphic novel’ with the publication of A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories.
Will Eisner used the term 'graphic novel' to describe his book-length comic, A Contract with God, which is a collection of text and fixed image narratives portraying the grittiness and poverty of life in the Bronx during the mid-1930s. Eisner's work…

A History of the Comic Strip exhibition opens at The Louvre Museum in Paris.
"The rewards are great, but without the burden of conscience resulting from having done someone in. If you win, it is because you have parlayed the hours spent in the attic by finding a world full of prototypes of yourself who keep you in gilded…

Rex Stout founds the Writers’ War Board (WWB). Comics used as propaganda material during WWII.
The WWB was created upon request by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. It paired writers with government and non-government agencies to write propaganda that would aid the Allied forces during World War II. The Pulp Writer's Committee created…

The Kraft Process of pulp paper making supersedes the earlier sulfite process.
Based on the invention of the recovery boiler, which allows pulping to take place as a closed-cycle system, the Kraft Process for pulp paper making becomes more efficient than other chemical processes. The recovery boiler collects the used chemicals,…

Famous Funnies: A Carnival of Comics is the first modern comic book printed in America.
The first modern American comic book, Famous Funnies, demonstrates that there is a widespread consumer market for text and fixed image media. Marketing of comic books begins in earnest, and is primarily directed at young men and boys. In the 1940s…

Gernsback creates Amazing Stories, which is the first speculative fiction pulp magazine in America.
Compelling narratives became widely available as soon as cheap paper made mass production affordable. Through the speculative fiction pulp magazine, Gernsback encouraged the development of imagined communities that revolved around the commonality of…

Sulfite process becomes the dominant method for making wood pulp paper.
Chemical wood pulp paper is longer lasting and more durable than unprocessed wood pulp paper. Manufacturers used caustic chemicals, originally sulfites, to break down the wood fibers and remove the lignin from the pulp. Chemical pulping made for…

The Yellow Kid is widely recognized as the first modern comic strip.
While there were plenty of earlier illustrations and editorial cartoons published in newspapers, The Yellow Kid is widely recognized as the first American comic strip. It is particularly noted for its early use of text bubbles and recurring…

iPad
The iPad was first released on April 3, 2010. Its immediate success threatened to revolutionize the comic book industry.Digital versions of popular comics are now available via an assortment of mobile devices. Most of these devices attempt to…

World Wide Web
If the Internet is the infrastructure, then the World Wide Web is the content; at least the content with which most people are familiar. As an information medium, the Internet provides people with a context in which to build content. The Web makes up…

Standardized Formatting &amp; Compelling Narratives
The text bubble, the panel layout, one-shot publications, and the serialized narrative are all examples of the standardization of comic book formatting. Without these standards, the comic may not have developed into the recognizable literary form it…

Binding Methods
At the onset of mass production, higher quality paper covers protected the magazine-size publications whose interior pages were made from the much cheaper pulp paper. The brightly colored, hand painted covers appealed to both adult and young adult…

Color Ink and Halftone Printing
Advancements in color ink technology allowed for brightly colored mass-produced serials that appealed to a wider audience. Serialized publication of original comics began to fill a niche in newfound consumer demographics. For the first time, the…

Wood Pulp Paper
Prior to the advent of wood pulp paper, most paper was made from rag pulp. Collecting used rags to make paper was economical but limiting. When the rags ran out, so did the paper and it was expensive to use new cloth. These limitations kept the price…

Steam-powered Rotary Printing Press
The rotary press imprinted images using a rotating cylinder, which allowed for faster, more efficient, and higher quality printing. At upwards of 8,000 pages an hour, the steam-powered rotary press further increased the speed at which materials could…