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Fun, dubbed Funch by some readers, was a contemporary to Punch and provides useful commentary on the significance of Punch and comic magazines in Victorian England and in times since. As a comic magazine modeled on Punch, Fun used an image and text combination for form and included many types of creative, playful, and critical writing often in the form of parody, verse, writings on political and literary, and cultural criticism. Fun also maintained the parallel with Punch through the use of a mascot, with Fun’s jester Mr. Fun and his cat as Fun’s mascot and Punch’s Mr. Punch and his dog Toby as Punch’s mascot. Fun began in 1861 and was more closely related to theater than Punch throughout its publication. Fun is important as independent artifact as well as for comparative studies with Punch in analyses of particular topics. Because Fun is closely related to theater, researchers using the Performing Arts Digital Collection may find Fun particularly relevant.
The Comic Almanack: an Ephemeris in Jest and Earnest, Containing Merry Tales, Humorous Poetry, Quips, and Oddities was another satirical periodical like Fun and Punch. The Comic Almanack is of particular interest because it includes illustrations by George Cruikshank (a prolific illustrator and caricaturist who created over 15,000 etchings and engravings) and texts by William Thackeray and other important literary figures.
Imagerie d'Epinal were pictorial broadsheets that told simple tales done by the Imagerie Pellerin of France, and reprinted by the Humoristic Publishing Co. in Kansas, Missouri. These are important for the history of comics and printing. In Father of the Comic Strip: Rodolphe Töpffer, David Kunzle compares Töpffer's "kind of graphic naïvete and that of the truly unschooled and awkward Imagerie d'Epinal" (77). Kunzle argues "the subsequent history of the comic strip occupies this middle groudm but inclining more to Töpffer than imagerie populaire" (77). Kunzle's overall analysis places Töpffer alongside the likes of Gustave Doré, William Hogarth, Willhelm Busch, and George Cruikshank in publications like Punch, Le Charivari, L'Illustration, and Illustrated London News.
Will Eisner's P*S The Preventive Maintenance Monthly stands as a particularly important example of instructional and military comics. P*S is an ongoing comic, with newer issues available online from the military and other issues available from Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries. The historical P*S issues collected here are Eisner's work. P*S began when the Army asked Will Eisner, already famous for his work on The Spirit, to design P*S. The original P*S served as an informal supplement, or postscript, to official Army publications. P*S made learning about equipment maintenance enjoyable and easy.
Both the form and the style appealed to readers with the easy to carry small-size of P*S, color images, and detailed images of equipment and component parts of equipment. The narrative style and the characters also added to the entertainment value, with characters like MSG Half-Mast, Connie Rodd, and Connie's two incompetent assistants PVT Fosgnoff and PVT Joe Dope. Fosgnoff and Dope constantly made mistakes, creating narrative reasons to convey technical information. Connie Rodd was originally created to interest the almost entirely male readership, but as women entered the Army and as the feminist movement grew, Eisner transformed Connie from a pinup to a modestly dressed expert. Other characters similarly evolved and changed, with new characters added and others leaving. Throughout Eisner's work on P*S, the comic evolved along with and in service to its readers.
P*S is significant in itself and because of its creator Will Eisner. Will Eisner is perhaps best understood through his legacy, with the many comics he created, his influence on other cartoonists and on writers and artists in other fields, his impact on readers, and his impact on comics themselves. Eisner's exemplary work in comics and for the promotion of comics greatly influenced comics as an art and a literary form, as well as comics' reception and critical analysis. The Will Eisner Comic Industry Award, which awards creative achievement in American comics, is named for him because of his importance to comics.
Eisner's many accomplishments include writing the popular comic strip series The Spirit, instructional comics like P*S The Preventive Maintenance Monthly collected here, and establishing the graphic novel with A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories. While Eisner is generally regarded as the father of the graphic novel, he often corrected others to note that he was not the first to coin the term. However, Eisner did bring the term graphic novel into its current popular usage.
As such an important figure in comics, literature, and art, many archival and research projects have focused on Will Eisner and his work. More information on Eisner and his work can be found on many sites, including the official Will Eisner site, Denis Kitchen Art Agency site, and on The Ohio State University's Cartoon Research Library site. OSU's Cartoon Research Library houses the Will Eisner Collection and their site includes a finding aid among other resources.
Harry Lampert is best known as co-creator of the DC Comics superhero The Flash, but he was also known for his military comic Droopy the Drew Field Mosquito which he published in the Drew Field Echoes, the newspaper for the Drew Field Army Airbase (in Tampa, Florida). The Digital Collections contain the first strip, published in August 1942, and all following strips through February 3, 1944, as well as an article on Droopy from August 13, 1943.
The University of South Florida collected the Drew Field Echoes, and the Florida Digital Newspaper Library digitized them. The Florida Digital Newspaper Library allows for full-text searching and is openly accessible online. All of the digitized issues of the Drew Field Echoes are listed on this page in Florida Digital Newspaper Library. The individual comics are collected below for easier browsing. Each comic also has the date and volume information, which links to the specific pages where each Droopy strip can be found in its Drew Field Echoes issue.
14 Aug. (v. 1: 24)
21 Aug. (v. 1: 25)
28 Aug. (v. 1: 26)
4 Sept. (v. 1: 27)
11 Sept. (v. 1: 28)
16 Apr. (v. 2: 6)