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How Have We Changed Our Definition of the Comics Form Over Time?

Comics have changed greatly ever since they were first recognized or declared as comics. It has been difficult to pinpoint the exact start of when comics came to be known, but it has changed greatly since primitive cave paintings to the type of comics we have today such as superman, batman and iron-man. I have never understood what comics truly were until entering American Graphic Media and reading books such as Understanding Comics. The forms of comics that are more mainstream and known well are a mixture of both pictures and words, which is a necessity to benefit the fullest from the specific comic. The first comics were primarily just pictures, and if you go back far enough they were even painted on cave walls instead of paper. Since comics use both words and pictures, they can hide meanings behind it all without truly conveying the story. One that shocked me, because I grew up watching the show, was Tarzan, and how it has a racial background to the story. It is a story of racism, and Tarzan, being the only white human in the jungle becomes the leader over all of the apes in that jungle, which coincides with whites and blacks in the time period that it was written. “Like many Americans, Burroughs’ understanding of race and breeding reflected a belief that these two aspects worked in tandem to give white men like Tarzan a superior place in society.”

In just a few days comics have jumped completely from the weird books that people read just for amusement and to escape the real world. I mean that is not completely incorrect. Some comics were written for people to escape their normal lifestyle such as in the depression. These comics were stories of normal human beings doing extraordinary things which gave the average person inspiration to do something great like the “SuperMan” they were reading about in these comic books. The comics have advanced so much over the century, they have went from the funny illustrations to serious stories that actually have structure and sequels. My understanding of comics has increased greatly over these last few days, but that’s wasn’t starting with much.


J. Chambliss said…
Its good to recognize the complex meaning behind comics that missing from the general's public perception. Keep that line of inquiry in mind.

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