Comic Book History pt.1- A Brief History of Storytelling

Campfire-740x329There’s a sentimental feeling while sitting around a fire with friends and family just telling stories and sparking new ideas with one another.  Storytelling is the oldest form of entertainment, and being the visual beings we are, art on cave walls would always follow the narratives of these accounts.  Humans have the unique ability to imagine worlds, characters, setting, creatures and creatively composite compelling and emotional stories!  But before the development of spoken and written languages it was near impossible to portray the power of the human imagination, although we had one advantage at our disposal, art!  Art is the most primitive form to depict what one is envisioning.  Think of children, before they ever spell out a word, they doodle and correlate stories through word of mouth what those pictures mean to them.  These pictures our ancestors painted told of animals and dangers, myths, legends, and gods.   In 1940 a group of children came across an array of animal drawings on the walls of Lascaux Caves in the Pyrenees Mountains.  Since, scientists and folklorists has studied these 2,000 plus figures, predominately animals, and concluded they hold a narrative element to them.  The amazing part, these drawing date somewhere between 15,000-13,000 B.C.  History records the earliest storytelling back to Mesopotamia.  Telling of epics, involving the Sumerian King Gilgamesh.  These tales began to be passed down by word of mouth around 3,000 B.C.  Even being chiseled into stone tablets around 700B.B., making it the first printed story.  It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when story telling began, because it predates recorded history.  Mankind has been fascinated by gripping stories, it’s only equal is, art, thus the birth of corresponding art with storytellers epic tales!  It evolved as time went on.  Starting with stick figures on cave walls, to paintings of God and the angels on the ceilings of churches, eventually to paper pages with word bubbles expressing the stories.

heroglyphics-by-josh-lane-7

Hero-Glyphics By Josh Lane

Art and writing are rarely seen separate.  The Egyptian hieroglyphics were a mix between words and symbols representing the narratives being told.  Screen plays are portrayed in the art form of acting on a stage or on a screen.  Children’s books are illustrated to the words, engaging the imagination and understanding of the language by aiding the child in learning, though corresponding words with the object it describes.  Comics are no different.  I believe it excites the primal nature in us.  Meat, woman, caves, oh, oh, oh, oooooooh (Tim Allen impression).  Then the scifi aspect excites the scientist in us and finally when you mix in fictioP1010659n, it’s all left up to the imagination.  These are the casualties of adulthood, these are the casualties of modern man.  Telling us that comic books and graphic novels should be left to the children.  Why?  I love being absorbed and invested in a story the brings me to my roots, appealing to my imagination, intellect, and emotions.  These are all the elements of entertainment being welded together.  These weekly books are a relative to the cave drawings, with modern age themes.  Telling of gods, myths, and legends that live in the public.

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