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H M Bateman - Strip Cartoons               Page     <1     <2    3   >4    >5    >6    >7        


But how had Bateman arrived at the form of the strip cartoon? There are certainly two major influences that are immediately apparent, as well as certain moments and developments in his life and work that help to point the way. The first of these influences was the fantastic proliferation of comic papers that sprung up in Britain when he was a child. He was an obsessive devotee of the halfpenny comics, of Comic Cuts and Chips and Larks and Ally Sloper’s Half-Holiday and Fun and many others. In fact, his earliest surviving drawing, done when he was perhaps eight or nine, was done in imitation of Fun, a title page with lots of funny little characters and the inscription: “You are requested to keep dirty fingers off the page – by order...”. From the very beginning, when he started to sell cartoons and sketches to the magazines in his early teens, there was a noticeable tendency for his cartoons to relate more than just a single incident, to have little additional strips appended under the main cartoon or to be made up of a number of separate scenes. He wanted to tell a story. And certainly, by 1910 or 1911, he can clearly be seen to be drawing proto strip cartoons, not quite yet the mature strip cartoon, still including some words and speech or text, but very definitely narrative and cinematic.

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