Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Some 92 years ago

The poor newspaper reader of old, trained to read single stories in long columns probably didn't know what to think of the comics pages of the time. Still nicely aligned in columns with a picture above a paragraph, but the reader was expected to read across the page instead of down. No wonder they needed to put in numbers to tell the reader the order of the panels. It's interesting how little thought many cartoonists today put into how their layout is communicating the order of the panels when they get creative about layouts.

It was certainly a different medium around the turn of the last century, as seen in this (London) example. Still really an illustrated story rather than a comic. One can certainly be glad that the need to verbosely explain what is clearly drawn already has passed. However, I was particularly delighted by one of the strips in the linked post which seems to particularly work with the form of the even by today's sensibilities.

The comic that's caught my attention is Burglar Bertie (direct link to one of the two examples from above) which occupied the back of this sheet. Instead of stating what's in the picture, this one has been done in the form of a letter to the editor. It is a nice touch that gets in all the key words that make the images unambivalent to the reader of the day yet does not seem to insult the intelligence outright for the reader of today who thinks the picture didn't need so much explaining.

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