A Brief History on Cartoons, Comics and Animation : How They Changed the World

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The world today we are living is so connected by digital devices and the Internet. Yet, we are indifferent to the others’ sufferings and problems. We feel compelled to do something, but our hands are tied to leave a strong impression. We feel empowered if our single voice becomes unified by others’.

Art displayed our imagination and shaped human society. Art may not actually show what people to do. But, it helps people connect to their mind, body, and senses. And, this feeling can be translated into engagement and even action. To realize the potential of art, you need forms as expressive as possible.

It all started with cave paintings during the Paleolithic Age. The exact purpose of those cave paintings may not be known. But, humans successfully retained the technique and used it to express themselves from time to time. Decades turn to centuries, centuries turn to millennia, people’s ways of expression change.

And, the change has brought about some of the strongest forms of expression: cartoon, comics, and animation. In this article, I tried to discover how they became what they are, how they developed and how they shaped the world. Let’s find out:

The History of Cartoons – A Timeline

◑ 1700 – 1770: the cartoon form started with caricatures. Leonardo da Vinci, Gian Lorenzo Benini used caricatures to give shape to the features of their subject. The pioneer who created the cartoon-form of picture-story is William Hogarth.

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◑ 1770 – 1830: Townshend, Woodward, Nixon introduced a playful style in depicting caricatures. Those cartoon characters associated with humor to social presentations and current fashions. The 1789 French Revolution saw the use of cartoons for satirical propaganda.

◑ 1877: cartoonists proved to be a powerful means of depiction during the American Civil War. Abraham Lincoln became a prominent figure of a cartoon.

◑ 1902: Thomas Nast, considered the Father of the American cartoon dies. His use of Uncle Sam and Democratic Donkey popularized the symbols.

◑ 1922: Rollin Kirby, a newspaper editorial cartoonist, wins the First Pulitzer Award for cartoons.

◑ 1927: Dr. Seuss began selling cartoons to magazines.

◑ 1934: Donald Duck is introduced in Walt Disney’s “The Wise Little Hen”.

◑1994: the highest grossing film of 1994, the Lion King, is released. The movie later went on to win two Academy Awards.

The History of Animation – A Timeline

◑ 1600 – 1877: the Industrial Revolution in Europe brought about machines that could make images appear to move. One of those machines was thaumatrope.

◑ 1900: “The Enchanted Drawing” is released. It is the first film to display animated sequences.

◑ 1906: the first animated cartoon “Humorous Phases of Funny Faces” is released.

◑ 1923 – Walt Disney began making short animated series based on children’s stories.

◑ 1928 – Mickey Mouse featured the first animated sound cartoon.

◑ 1930 – 1950: considered the Golden Age of American Animation gave rise to Betty Boop, Popeye, Mickey Mouse, etc.

◑ 1960 – 1980 – the animation industry gained success from broadcasting on TV.

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◑ 1980 – Present: Computer Generated Imagery revolutionized animation industry. Animated movies now continue to be lifelike.

The History of Comics – A Timeline

◑ 1929: Popeye appeared in Thimble Theater in 1929.

◑ 1936: the Phantom, the first costumed hero, debuted on February 17.

◑ 1938 – Superman, the first comic character to have supernatural power, is released.

◑ 1939 – the first appearance of Batman is seen.

◑ 1941: Wonder Woman is introduced in All-Star Comics. Captain America debuted in this year too.

Bottom Line

We belong to a global community. The smallest of a single person can ripple over a larger we only if the form of expression is strong enough. The mankind history is synonymous with art.

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