Comics

Comics derives from the mostly humorous early work, and came to apply to that form of the medium including those far from comic. A comic book is a small magazine containing a narrative in the form of comics. A comic book (often shortened to simply comic) is a magazine made up of comics, narrative artwork in the form of separate panels that represent individual scenes, often accompanied by dialog (usually in word balloons, emblematic of the comic book art form) as well as including brief descriptive prose.

Greek κωμικός, kōmikos "of or pertaining to comedy"; κῶμος - kōmos "revel, komos"; Latin cōmicus

History

The first comic book appeared in the United States in 1932, reprinting the earlier newspaper comic strips, which established many of the story-telling devices used in comics. The term "comic book" arose because the first comic books reprinted humor comic strips. Despite their name, however, comic books do not necessarily operate in humorous mode; most modern comic books tell stories in a variety of genres. The Japanese and European comic book markets demonstrate this clearly. In the United States, the superhero genre dominates the market.

Since the invention of the modern comic book format in 1933, the United States has produced the most examples, with only the British comic books (during the inter-war period and up until the 1970s), the Italian fumetti and the Japanese manga as close competitors in terms of quantity.

Sales of comic books began to decline after World War II, when the medium had to face competition with the spread of television and mass-market paperback books. Confirming the trend, mass-media researchers in the period found comic-book reading among children with television sets in homes "drastically reduced".

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In the 1960s, comic books' audience expanded to include college students who favored the naturalistic, "superheroes in the real world" trend initiated by Stan Lee at Marvel Comics. The 1960s also saw the advent of the underground comics. Later, the recognition of the comic medium among academics, literary critics and art museums helped solidify comics as a serious artform with established traditions, stylistic conventions, and artistic evolution. Since 1975 the dimensions have standardized at 6 ⅝" x 10 ¼" (17 x 26 cm), down from 6 ¾" x 10 ¼" in the Silver Age, although larger formats appeared in the past. this varied based on publisher and wartime supplies, but could be as large as 7 1/2" x by 10 1/4" such as National Comics published by Quality Comics.

Publishers

Marvel Comics

Marvel Publishing, Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics, counts among its characters such well-known properties as Spider-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Thor and Captain America; antagonists such as Doctor Doom, the Green Goblin, Magneto, Galactus, and the Red Skull; and others. Most of Marvel's fictional characters operate in a single reality known as the Marvel Universe, with locales set in real-life cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

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Dark Horse Comics

Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent American comic book and manga publisher. Mike Richardson, owner of several comic book shops in the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area, began to publish in 1986 with an anthology series called Dark Horse Presents, investing profits from his stores into Dark Horse Comics. The publisher is based in Milwaukie, Oregon. Richardson opened his first comic book store, Pegasus Books, in Bend, Oregon, in 1980.

DC Comics

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DC Comics, Inc. (founded in 1934 as National Allied Publications) is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the market for American comic books and related media. The initials "DC" came from the company's popular series Detective Comics, which subsequently became part of the company's name. It is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment, a company of Warner Bros Entertainment, which itself is owned by Time Warner. DC Comics produces material featuring a large number of well-known characters, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Robin, Aquaman, Green Lantern, and the Flash, and such superhero teams as the Justice League and the Teen Titans, and such antagonists as Lex Luthor, the Joker, the Riddler, Catwoman, Sinestro, Penguin, Two-Face, General Zod, Gorilla Grodd, Brainiac, and Darkseid.

Image Comics

Image Comics is a United States comic book publisher. It was founded in 1992 by high-profile illustrators as a venue where creators could publish their material without giving up the copyrights to the characters they created, as creator-owned properties. It was immediately successful, and remains one of the largest comic book publishers in North America. Its output was originally dominated by work from the studios of the Image partners, but later included work by numerous independent creators. Its best-known series include Spawn, Invincible, The Walking Dead, Witchblade, The Darkness, and Savage Dragon.

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