Portal:Comics

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The Comics Portal

Carl Barks, Donald Duck comics artist

Carl Barks,
Donald Duck comics artist

A comic is a medium used to express ideas via images, and is often combined with text or other visual information. A comic frequently takes the form of juxtaposed sequences of panels of images; often textual devices such as speech balloons, captions, and onomatopoeia indicate dialogue, narration, sound effects, or other information. Size and arrangement of panels contribute to narrative pacing. Cartooning and similar forms of illustration are the most common image-making means in comics; fumetti is a form which uses photographic images. Common forms of comics include comic strips, editorial and gag cartoons, and comic books. Since the late 20th century, bound volumes such as graphic novels, comics albums, and tankōbon have become increasingly common, and online webcomics have proliferated in the 21st century.

The history of comics has followed divergent paths in different cultures. Some scholars have posited a pre-history as far back as the Lascaux cave paintings. By the mid-20th century, comics flourished particularly in the United States, western Europe (especially in France and Belgium), and Japan. The history of European comics is often traced to Rodolphe Töpffer's cartoon strips of the 1830s, and became popular following the success in the 1930s of strips and books such as The Adventures of Tintin. American comics emerged as a mass medium in the early 20th century with the advent of newspaper comic strips; magazine-style comic books followed in the 1930s. Histories of Japanese comics and cartooning (manga) propose origins as early as the 12th century. Modern comic strips emerged in Japan in the early 20th-century, and the output of comics magazines and books rapidly expanded in the post-World War II era with the popularity of cartoonists such as Osamu Tezuka.

Comics has had a lowbrow reputation for much of its history, but towards the end of the 20th century began to find greater acceptance with the public and within academia. The English term comics derives from the humorous (or comic) work which predominated in early American newspaper comic strips; usage of the term has become standard also for non-humorous works. It is common in English to refer to the comics of different cultures by the terms used in their original languages, such as manga for Japanese comics, or bandes dessinées for French-language comics. There is no consensus amongst theorists and historians on a definition of comics; some emphasize the combination of images and text, some sequentiality or other image relations, and others historical aspects such as mass reproduction or the use of recurring characters. The increasing cross-pollination of concepts from different comics cultures and eras has further made defining the medium difficult.

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Halo: Uprising is a four-issue American comic book limited series set in the Halo universe. The series was written by Brian Michael Bendis, illustrated by Alex Maleev, and published by Marvel Comics. Uprising tells a story set between the ending of the 2004 video game Halo 2 and the beginning of its sequel, Halo 3, as Earth is under attack by a collective of alien races known as the Covenant. The series was intended to be released and concluded before Halo 3 shipped on September 25, 2007, but the final issue did not appear until April 2009. The series was brought together by Ruwan Jayatilleke, Marvel's Vice President of Development. He attained the license to publish Halo comics, including the single-volume The Halo Graphic Novel, in 2005. The graphic novel's critical and commercial success prompted Marvel to announce a new Halo limited series in 2006 with Jayatilleke serving as the series' editor. Bendis, a long-time Halo fan, was excited about adding to the franchise story. Reception to the series was lukewarm. The series' artistic style was generally praised. However, the lack of Master Chief-focused action and character development—as well as the delays in publishing—led to average reviews. The series was commercially successful and appeared in the top slot of The New York Times Graphic Books bestsellers list.

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Cover of Wow Comics 38 (Sept./Oct. 1941).
Credit: Fawcett Comics

Superhero comics is a form of American comic books. The form rose to prominence in the 1930s and 1940s and has remained the dominant form of comic book in North America since the 1960s. Superhero comics feature stories about superheroes and the universes these characters inhabit.

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Milt Gross

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[t]he standards of comics include inventiveness, originality, and consistency. The best comics really are great artworks — great by the intrinsic standards of that art form.

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