WINSOR MCCAY Little Nemo in Slumberland, 1905. New York Herald.
SETH Clyde Fans, 2003. Ediciones Sin Sentido.
writing-iconic medium that is based on narration by means of sequences of fixed images that integrate literary texts.”2 Comics also have a wide range of linguistic elements of their own. The drawings within every frame are static and it is only because of sequential movement that we obtain a narrative progression. Cartoonists, however, never resigned themselves to accept the frames’ motionlessness, developing a whole series of kinetic symbols. For instance, there are lines to describe the movement of falling down, little dust clouds that indicate that a character has just run away or circles above a character’s head to indicate dizziness. Cartoons, following Gubern’s and Gasca’s detailed account, have also developed ideograms that are understood as visual metaphors (a heart stands for love; a light bulb stands for a brilliant idea). 12 · ARTECONTEXTO · DOSSIER
Cartoons’ overwhelming creativity has gradually led to the questioning of the classic standards of the comic language, such as the notion that actions must take place only within the frame or the idea that dialogue must necessarily appear inside balloons. As long as they are narratively coherent, cartoons can dispose of frames –which, in some cases, may repress the cartoonist’s graphic creativity, while the characters’ thoughts and dialogues can be included in many different ways in the narrative. The use of color in comics has always been a problematic subject. When a series of original pages made by ingenious Spanish authors from the 50s and 60s were shown at the exhibition La factoría del humor Bruguera,3 the audience was surprised to discover they contained no color. People had read these comics in color magazines and were unaware that the addition of color was a mechanical process, even though it was a very common method in that era of mass production. Nonetheless, in the last few years things have changed all around the world. Black and white comics’ visual power looks a hundred times superior to rudimentarily colored cartoons, and now more and more authors are experimenting with the possibilities of black and white illustrations. Nowadays the use of color possesses a different meaning, with cartoonists using it to imbue their work with a greater visual power.
Born in the USA If we intend to understand our present we must first get acquainted with our past. Comics haven’t a uniform history, for there were cartoons being created in different parts of the world at the same time. Nevertheless, a convention has been established regarding comics’ origins –even though there are not only other precedents but
Dossier: COMIC WORLD / MUNDO CÓMIC 2006