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Winsor McCay : An Introduction

During the turn of the century, a new medium had hit the mass consuming culture of the industrial world, the newspaper. And from these humble roots of pulp fiction and graphic details of murders, rapes and debauchery, arouse an art form of enormous strength, the comic strip. The comic strip was a way to tell a story using drawn images, in a sequential time order. Animation would be the continuation of this, although today both have about equal acclaim and presence in contemporary society.

This was not done first here in the civilization of man; instead a few cultures had developed this form of visual narration, like the Egyptians with their hieroglyphics and pictographs or the Greeks memorializing their conquests, daily life and mythology on vases. So a story has a type of direction and intent. It may be to educate, entertain or illustrate a dialogue between different components. A story is only limited by the imagination of the creator and their ability to convey it. Winsor was not the first to make a comic strip. But what he brought to the realm of illustrative story telling could never be discounted.

With a passion for graphics only eclipsed by his technical talent, he was able to transform the mundane into the fantastic, and led the modern reader of the time, on a journey to far away lands and unimaginable places. And with his very specific narration form, the protagonist is led through a whirlwind of adventures. The main characters in his stories are typically propelled by the environment as opposed to being influenced by other characters and events as in modern stories. This in itself was a feat, the personification of the environment as a character. His animations are static images, but following the composed images, movement and motion are created. The use of repetitive templates in his comics adds a sense of continuity in a place where anything is possible.