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Evolution of Comics and Cartoons

Before discussing the evolution of comics and cartoons, we must know what they mean.

A comic is a journal that entails comic art style and recites a story. Comic art uses cartoon or related visuals. These graphics are in the form of sequential mix panels that signify individual scenes. Comics practice various textual devices such as captions, balloons, dialogues, and other information. Although, comics specify comic books that possess funny stories. Comic stories can be included in different categories and may not have a comical tone.

On the other hand, the cartoon is described as a basic illustration, animation, or style of drawing. These illustrations are portrayed in a semi-realistic or non-realistic artistic style. Cartoons are also classified in various categories in print media such as comic strips, gag, editorial cartoons, and so on. They are often meant to echo comedy and enjoyment. Cartoons are also termed as animations which target children to induce laughter. It can be either short animated movies or television programs.

Difference between Comics and Cartoons

Many people assume that comics and cartoons are the same but it is not. Individual graphics in a book can be termed as cartoons but a comic book can be termed as cartoons. They are interrelated but have some difference between them. The difference between cartoons and comics are described below.

MeaningA publication which narrates a storyA simple illustration which is designed in a semi-realistic or non-realistic artistic style
HumorThey are not as humor as cartoonsThey are often amusing
StructureIt consists of specific structures like size, placements, and moreIt has different structures.
PublicationIt has a different publicationIt is mostly found in newspapers and magazines.

A Complete Evolution of Comics and Cartoons in India

If someone were to ask me to describe the 21st century in as few words as possible, my response would be, “it is the century of digital connectedness.” With the meteoric rise in the prominence and popularity of social media that we are currently witnessing, the world has experienced an unprecedented transformation in the way we produce and share content.

This change has incited a revolution in the artistic media and entertainment industry, that is now forced to keep up with the sudden shift from print media to digital content creation. Several benefits accompany this shift – the internet and social media have allowed independent artists to connect with a wider audience all across the globe.

[Source: Evolution of Comics]

You might be surprised to hear me say this, but I think comics are one of the things that bring so much amusement to our lives. Growing up as a child, I always loved to read comic books.

Comics makes us laugh, captivates our imagination, and sometimes leads us to a different world of excitement.

However, long before the advent of worldwide webcomics have been part of our culture. And as technology advanced, it gave rise to a new terminology – the Webcomics – that you and I are much familiar with today.

Webcomics creators have since the 1990s, been using the digital space to change the face of comics, and soon became popular in the early 2000s as the Eisner award began adding categories for digital online comics.

How comics evolved to finding space in our culture:

Comics are a narrative sequence of drawings that tell an amusing story, designed in easy to read formats such as newspapers, magazines, and books.

And while the evolution of comics can be explained based on cultural background, its origin isn’t far from the early precursor such as:

  • The Rome Trajan’s Column – the first to print comics in 110 AD with a sequence of pictures telling a superb narrative story.
  • The Egyptian hieroglyphs – a formal writing system that combined the logographic, syllabic, and alphabetic elements that were used basically for religious literature purposes.
  • Another example is the Bayeux Tapestry – although its origin has been a subject of speculation. But the earliest written reference known to humans was in 1476 inventory of Bayeux Cathedral.

The comics also serve as a platform for Christians in Europe who used paintings to bring Christianity teachings to the illiterates rather than using text.

This later manifested to using print media such as pamphlets and comics books to reach a larger audience. 

Evolution of Comics and Cartoons Through Ages: From Entertainment To Animation Industry

Some of our fondest childhood memories belong to the lazy schedule when we spent our time watching our favorite cartoons on TV. The animated picture always captures our imagination whether it was a humorous cat chasing Mouse all day or the carrot-chewing rabbit repeatedly telling “EH… WHAT’S UP, DOC?. It’s perhaps the enthusiasm and curiosity of people who led to many drastic changes in the Cartoon Industry, in such a short period. (1832-2020).

Where Did The Name Cartoons Come From? 

Cartoon began in Italian as the word Cartone. Cartone was a material that was used for drawing, then became the word for the drawing itself. With evolution, it’s meaning changed and now it means a clear progression of simultaneous pictures having some funny meaning. 

Famous Cartoons and Characters

The character of cartoons in history over time:-

  • Mickey Mouse- Mickey Mouse made his debut in 1928’s “Steamboat Willie,” voiced by Walt himself. 
  • Bugs Bunny- He made his debut in 1940 through Warner Brothers cartoon “Wild Hare.”  
  • Wonder Woman- Wonder Woman made her debut in DC Comics’ “All-Star Comics” in 1941.
  • Batman- The caped crusader first appeared in DC Comics in 1939 and leaped TV in the 1960s.
  • Homer Simpson—Homer Simpson and his family made their debut on “The Tracey Ullman Show” in 1987.

Famous Cartoons in India and all across the world

  • World
  1. The Simpsons
  2. The Flintstones.
  3. Looney Tunes.
  4. Peanuts.
  5. Scooby-Doo.
  6. The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends.
  7. Batman: The Animated Series.
  8. SpongeBob SquarePants.
  • India
  1. Tom and Jerry.
  2. Chota Bheem
  3. Oggy and the Cockroaches
  4. Mr. Bean
  5. Ninja Hattori

Who Started Cartoons? 

Mesmerizing childhood memories of our life is gifted by Thomas Nast, a German-born American caricaturist and editorial cartoonist who is considered to be the “Father of the American Cartoon”. However, the first Cartoons which was published in American newspaper is credited in Name of Benjamin Franklin

Art, Communication, and Entertainment – The fascinating Root of Cartoons 

The beginning of Human civilization has seen a drastic change in communication techniques. Earlier they used to communicate through symbols. So, we can say Cartoons are somewhere embedded in roots in the form of art. The beginning is here:-

  • People quickly realized that if a picture is made in succession, it is capable of creating the illusion of a motion picture. Examples:- Egyptian Mura which is around 5200 years old

[Source: Art, Communication, and Entertainment – The fascinating Root of Cartoons ]

  • Shadowgraphy – This art form was popular in France during the 18th century. It is closely related to the animation field. People used to tell stories using hand-drawn shadows, also called ‘cinema in silhouette’.
  • Earlier, Stories were also being told with the help of the magic lantern. This lantern was used to project moving images. (invented by Christiaan Huygens in 1659) 

The beginning of Modern Era – How Cartoons were first Made? 

  • Joseph Plateau discovered real animation device in 1832, which was commonly known as  Phenakistoscope (The very first device that could create a fluid illusion of animation) 
  • With the introduction of Theater Optique (invented by Émile Reynaud and patented in 1888). The cartoons Industry saw a celluloid shift. This series of animated films included Pauvre Pierrot and Autour D’Une Cabine. Each of his films contained 300-700 painted images frames which last in 10-15 minutes.
  • Between 1914 – 1967, hand-drawn animation was created using Cel animation. Cel was a transparent sheet having camphor and cellulose nitrate. Characters were drawn on Cells and drawings were layered on common background images to reduce the number of frames and episode times. The production house of John Bray studios produced “Colonel Heeza Liar” (1914). It was the first cartoons which were created using Cel techniques  

Walt Disney : A revolutionary in the cartoons Industry. 

Earlier all cartoons were made with motion pictures (without sound) but Steamboat Willie (November 18, 1928) was the first animated film to include sound. Many consider Steamboat Willie as the first animated feature film but there were 7 films that were released earlier. 

Everyone lovable Mickey Mouse took his debut from this movie only. Later with the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, animated films became a popular form of entertainment.

Commonly used in the traditional era was stop-motion animation. Viewers must have observed the jerks in the movement of objects within film sequences of this Era. Because the Stop-motion animation technique only creates a perception of movement in the object. 

Cartoons after Computers Innovation:

After advancement in technology, the first few animation movies were very basic, that is the reason Hummingbird (1967) was called as the first computer-generated animated film. The 2D animated film was made using 30,000 images and 25 motion sequences. 

The arduous task of entertainment became simple with the advancement of technology. Now, the frame by frame animation of 2D characters could be done entirely on computers. 

Historical 2D Animation movies are:-

  • Sword in The Stone(Disney) 
  • Jungle Book, 
  • Mary Poppins,
  • The Aristocrats.

The golden era:

By this time, Stop-motion Animation was succeeded by computer animation. The frame-by-frame or rigging technique was used to put Graphics in motion. Now it ensures that animation is not just used to produce cinema and TV series but also for brand storytelling and web series.

Mufasa, The Lion King (Animated character) truly said that Change is within. Famous character Mufasa further said, “If thought is the cause, the effect is the outcome”. We can see cartoons also gone through their form of evolution through cause and effect relationships. Now, our various art forms have also evolved. Cartoons are no different; they also evolved and entertained us from time to time.

Vidushi Jain is an experienced Digital Marketer. She is passionate and dedicated to work with years of experience in the field of Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Ads, Google Ads, and Content Writing. She also has a basic knowledge of designing and WordPress development.



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