Chapter 3: A brief history of comic art
At its core, art is a form of communication. As soon as humans developed to a point where they formed social groups, communication in the form of telling stories and sharing experiences became a key element of tribal communities. And it was in these early days of human experience that the impulse to create a visual image to help tell that story led to the birth of art. We take for granted, in our media-saturated age, that we process images as representing reality – a mental exercise that must have been, at an earlier point in our development, not an automatic response. Attorney and media entrepreneur John Carlin summarizes the birth of comics and their connection to this response as follows: The early development of comics is typically traced from Egyptian hieroglyphics through the illuminated manuscripts of mediaeval Europe up to the cheap illustrations which proliferated in the post-Renaissance era as a result of the invention of movable type … The earliest existing works of representation are the well-known depictions of animals found in cave paintings. It is noteworthy that the technique was that of the cartoon … Because we are so accustomed to representation, it is difficult to conceive of the original leap of the imagination that allowed images to stand for things and enabled the observer to respond to those images with his whole being. The cartoon continues to derive its effectiveness from this basic cathartic response.
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