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A History of Sequential Art
From Cave Painting to Spider-Man

A cave painting from the caves at Lascaux in France. Cave painting is the earliest known form of sequential art. Frequently depicting animals, these illustrations were usually an illustrated chapter of a prehistoric tribe's hunt for food. ca 170th century BC!

For some twenty centuries, Egyptian rulers were deemed as deities and were immortalized in Egyptian hieroglyphics inside the great pyramids. This one is from the tomb of Neferronpet, nineteenth dynasty, about 1300 BC

Greek and Roman rulers were similarly immortalized in marble carvings that told their stories around the sides of ancient structures like this one from the outer circumference of the Parthenon, in Athens, Greece. ca.400 BC

This scene of Adam and God is part of the largest sequential story in picture form, covering the entire ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. By the great Michelangelo ca 1511 AD

A scene from William Hogarth's "Marriage ala Mode", credited as the first modern illustration by an artist who influenced the next wave of sequential art. He influenced such names as early British cartoonist George Cruikshank. ca.1745

The Yellow Kid was introduced by Richard Felton Outcault in 1895. Recognized as the seminal comic strip, the kid's popularity was a seminal influence to the proliferation of cartoons in American culture at the turn of the century. It also led to the coining of the term "Yellow Journalism" when the artist, among other editorialists for William Pulitzer's "the World" were repeatedly hired away from the newspaper by Willaim Randolph Heart's "Journal American" and again by Pulitzer several times (see bio on Richard Felton Outcault). This drawing is by Outcault's successor on the strip, George B. Luks. ca 1897

The comic book character that began the tidal surge of superheroes. Superman, created in the early thirties by two Cleveland, Ohio youths was a smash hit when he was first introduced. This detail of his first appearance on the cover of Action Comics #1 in 1938 was drawn by Joe Shuster who co-created the character with writer Jerry Siegel

When Spider-Man was introduced it signaled the age of the humanized comic superhero. Peter Parker was a nerdish high schooler when he was bitten by a radioactive spider and transformed into the web-slinging wall crawler in 1962, illustrated by artist Steve Ditko.

A Pictorial History of Sequential Art from Cave painting to Spider-Man

The History of Comic Art

A Chronological History of Comic Art in America

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