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How have we changed our definition of the comic form over time?

The comic form has changed over time just as everything else in the world has as well. It started out rather simplistically, in the form of cave drawings thousands of years ago. These were just pictorial representations without words. I had never really considered things like this to be a part of the comic form, but I also did not know too much about the art form that is comics and cartoons. I just assumed that comics were only what we now think of as modern day comics. As the years went on, the comic form evolved and became more complex, adding words and multiple story-telling techniques. Somewhere between 1900-1940, comics the way we think of them first emerged. This was also when a lot of the most famous comic book characters were invented, including Superman. Superman, being the first superhero character, started a new trend in comics. This trend has largely dominated the comic form, particularly in comic books and graphic novels. As story-telling techniques and art forms became more varied, so did the themes the comics dealt with. At first, comics were mostly just silly or humorous cartoons. But as time went on, writers began exploring more serious and deeper themes as well. I feel this made comics more popular and accessible since the readers could now feel a connection to the story and the characters if they had/were experiencing the same things, but still be able to escape into a fantasy world. Writers even started putting comic book characters in real world scenarios and against the backdrop of history. Comic books set during World War II or The Cold War explored common themes and views of that time. While the comic form has largely changed and progressed over the years, the general public is basically oblivious to this. It is still viewed as mostly humorous in nature or only for children by a majority of people. Although I was a comics fan before, I had not ever considered them a real art form. But since starting this class and reading Understanding Comics, I have really learned and come to appreciate all that goes into creating a comic and now find the process incredibly complex.


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