Know your comics

Know your comics

The strips were designed to make the reader laugh, hence the word ‘comic’. The section of the newspaper that contained these comic strips was often referred to as the ‘funnies’.

Rodolphe Töpffer, a Swiss writer and professor, was the first to create ‘picture stories’ in the comic genre in 1837. A popular comic artist, his translated work ‘Obadiah Oldbuck’ was the first comic book to ever be published in America in 1842.

By the 1930s, comic books and reprinted comic strips were extremely popular in America, closely followed by the UK and Japan.With the Introduction of ‘Superman’ in 1938, the Golden Age of the Comic Book began and turned comic books into a dynamic industry.

In India, one of the earliest picture books, though not entirely comic, was ‘Chandamama’, first published in 1947.  Following suit, ‘Amar Chitra Katha’ was founded in 1967. With over 400 titles, these immortal picture stories were embedded in Indian mythology and folklore.

A comic book in a lighter vein appeared with the creation of ‘Tinkle’ in 1980. This wholesome comic book combined education and entertainment and gave us inimitable characters such as Suppandi and Shikari Shambu. Although we have access to other means of infotainment, comic books are still widely read.