This text examines comics, graphic novels, and manga with a broad, international scope that reveals their conceptual origins in antiquity.
Too often the popularity and subject matter of "comic books" is perceived as a purely modern American phenomenon that only arrived in the 20th century and is virtually nonexistent outside the United States. This is certainly untrue; in fact, the world's first costumed superhero—"The Golden Bat"—appeared in Japan in 1931, seven years before Superman was created.
Graphic narrative art is a fascinating phenomenon that emerged centuries ago with the expansion of literacy and the publication industry. The earliest example of a repeating comic character dates back to the late 1700s. By following the growth of print technology in Europe and Asia, it is possible to understand how and why artists across cultures developed different strategies for telling stories with pictures.
This book is much more than a history of graphic narrative across the globe. It examines broader conceptual developments that preceded the origins of comics and graphic novels; how those ideas have evolved over the last century and a half; how literacy, print technology, and developments in narrative art are interrelated; and the way graphic narratives communicate culturally significant stories. The work of artists such as William Hogarth, J. J. Grandville, Willhem Busch, Frans Masereel, Max Ernst, Saul Steinberg, Henry Darger, and Larry Gonick are discussed or depicted.
• Includes numerous illustrations of British satirical prints, Japanese woodblock prints, and the art of prominent illustrators
• Includes a chapter on the latest developments in digital comics
• Provides a global perspective that is broadly comparative of the development of graphic narratives in Europe, Asia, and the Americas
• Covers both popular and fine art
• Defines a taxonomy of narrative art styles, and demonstrate how this classification system can be applied to modern comics