Friday, December 19, 2008

The Short History of the Cartoon


Cartoon, pictorial sketch or caricature, by implication humorous or satirical, and usually published in a newspaper, magazine, or periodical. In recent years the word has mostly been used to describe three specific kinds of drawing. These are the political, or editorial, cartoon—the main daily or weekly pictorial comment in a newspaper or magazine, referring to a current political or social issue; the pocket cartoon—a single-column drawing on a topical subject, often on the front page of a newspaper; and the single-joke, or gag, cartoon, which relies for its effect on amusing social commentary or wordplay.

Before the introduction of the term “cartoon” in its modern sense in the 19th century, satirical and humorous drawings of all kinds were referred to as caricatures. Today “caricature” is used mostly to refer to distorted portraiture that emphasizes the characteristic traits of an individual; it may either stand on its own or form part of a cartoon. Beyond these central forms, the term “cartoon” has also been applied to comics, television and film animation, multi-frame jokes published in newspapers, continuity strips, graphic novels, humorous advertising, humorous book and magazine illustrations, and satirical puppetry. Before the introduction of the term “cartoon” in its modern sense in the 19th century, satirical and humorous drawings of all kinds were referred to as caricatures. Today “caricature” is used mostly to refer to distorted portraiture that emphasizes the characteristic traits of an individual; it may either stand on its own or form part of a cartoon. Beyond these central forms, the term “cartoon” has also been applied to comics, television and film animation, multi-frame jokes published in newspapers, continuity strips, graphic novels, humorous advertising, humorous book and magazine illustrations, and satirical puppetry.
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