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Founder and former director of the International Cartoon Museum of Art, Brian Walker presents a survey of postwar strips that made it to the big time of daily syndication, as well as of their creators. Strip illustrations (210 in color, 776 in all) range from Little Orphan Annie collecting scrap metal to help the war effort to Doonesbury's Zonker parodying interactive media by losing his punchline to a computer error. Walker, who since 1984 "has been part of the creative team that produces Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois," orients the book toward hugely popular strips like the still-running Peanuts, B.C., Garfield, and cubicle-based smash Dilbert, and thus ends up giving a history of American taste. Readers will be happy to rediscover the likes of 1980s media tweaker John Darling, genre strips like the western Red Ryder (1938-64), 1950s sci-fi Twin Earths and the adventure strip Steve Canyon, and Walt Kelly's influential Pogo. Proceeding chronologically, Walker notes the effects of the invention of television, the politics of syndication, and the means of racial integration, and offers biographical profiles tracking the careers of all the names less familiar to us than the characters-the cartoonists themselves Featured cartoonists include Walt Kelly (Pogo), Charles Schulz (Peanuts), Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury), Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes), Scott Adams (Dilbert), and Patrick McDonnell (Mutts), and many more. The Comics is both comprehensive and graphically stunning.


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