A comic book, also called comicbook, comic magazine or (in the United Kingdom and Ireland) simply comic, is a publication that consists of comics art in the form of sequential juxtaposed panels that represent individual scenes. Panels are often accompanied by descriptive prose and written narrative, usually, dialogue contained in word balloons emblematic of the comics art form.
"Comic Cuts" was a British comic published from 1890 to 1953. It was preceded by "Ally Sloper's Half Holiday" (1884) which is notable for its use of sequential cartoons to unfold narrative. These British comics existed alongside of the popular lurid "Penny dreadfuls" (such as "Spring-heeled Jack"), boys' "Story papers" and the humorous Punch (magazine) which was the first to use the term "cartoon" in its modern sense of a humorous drawing. The interweaving of drawings and the written word had been pioneered by, among others, William Blake (1757 - 1857) in works such as Blake's "The Descent Of Christ" (1804 - 1820).
The first modern (American style) comic book, Famous Funnies, was released in the US in 1934 and was a reprinting of earlier newspaper humor comic strips, which had established many of the story-telling devices used in comics. The term comic book derives from American comic books once being a compilation of comic strips of a humorous tone; however, this practice was replaced by featuring stories of all genres, usually not humorous in tone.
The largest comic book market is Japan. By 1995, the manga market in Japan was valued at ¥586.4 billion ($6–7 billion), with annual sales of 1.9 billion manga books (tankōbon volumes and manga magazines) in Japan, equivalent to 15 issues per person.
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