More Comic Strip Art, Less Comic Book Art???

By Dennis J. Stokes, Curator, SEKOTS studios

“IS THERE MORE ORIGINAL COMIC STRIP ART AVAILABLE TO COLLECTORS THAN THERE IS ORIGINAL COMIC BOOK ART, AND IS THAT ONE REASON WHY ORIGINAL COMIC BOOK ART IS WORTH MORE?”

The answer given by most collectors of original comic art is “YES”.

And most collectors of original comic art are indeed “WRONG”.

If the average comic book (published monthly or twelve times a year) contains 24 pages of actual story and art (excluding ad pages), that equates to 288 (or 24 x 12) pages of art annually of a particular title. Add to that figure the 12 covers (1 cover per issue) and the page count quickly jumps to 300. If the particular comic book happens to be popular enough to warrant an annual, then add another 64 pages (more or less) and we are at 364.

Now let’s compare that to a daily comic strip (published Monday through Saturday for 52 weeks), that equates to 312 (or 6 x 52) strips annually. Let’s also assume this daily comic strip appears on Sunday as well. Add to that figure 52 (or the number of Sundays in a year) and the number of strips jumps to 364.

Therefore, to assume that there is somehow an over abundance of original comic strip art versus the availability of original comic book art is absurd.

To re-enforce this statement, all one has to do is take a quick count of the total number of comic books published annually and readily available at your local comic book shop and compare that to the number of strips appearing in your local newspaper.

So how many different comic books are published every month? Hard to say.

However, a quick look at sales figures available online from Diamond Comic Distributors would indicate that the average number of comic book titles published in the year 2011 is about 300 … each and every month!!!

So how many different comic strips are currently in syndication? Again, it’s hard to say.

According to online data collected from Stu’s COMIC STRIP CONNECTION, approximately the same number… in excess of 300!!!

Whoop-a-de-doo!!! The numbers are the same. Back in my day…

“Well, it was different during the Golden-Age of comic books” many of my colleagues will say and again… that answer is “WRONG”!!!

When compared to the “numbers” above, there were just as few comic strips being syndicated during that period of time as there were comic books being published. Not surprisingly, even during the “Golden-Age” the “numbers” seem to coincide and even less surprising, this is true with all “AGES” whether that be comic books or comic strips, Platinum-Age to Modern-Age.

And “YES”, comic strips do indeed follow the same “AGES” as comic books but I digress and that is a whole other topic for discussion. For now, let’s just stick to the subject at hand.

In the early days of cartooning, pre-1937, the original art from both comic books and comic strips were discarded after printing. The paper drives during World War II (1939-1945) destroyed both comic books and comic strips (newspapers) alike. Neither comic book nor comic strip original art had a valid secondary market until well into the 1970’s.

BIG DEAL!!! There are more PEANUTS than SPIDER-MEN…

“Well, there are more Peanuts comic strips available than there are Spider-Man comic book pages” some will say and yet again… that answer is “WRONG”!!!  Perhaps, if the outside of the package reads Planters.

Maybe you’re right. It seems I forgot about the “AMAZING PEANUTS”, “PEANUTS SUPER STORIES”, “CHARLIE BROWN, THE SPECTACULAR PEANUTS”, “WEB of PEANUTS”, “ULTIMATE PEANUTS”….

WHAT???!!! Those are titles of comic books starring Spider-Man and not Peanuts? Oh.

“But Spider-Man does not appear on every page in every book” others will chime in and, they would be correct. However, the name of the strip is PEANUTS not Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Sally, Woodstock, Peppermint Patty, Schroeder, Pig-Pen… you get the idea.

Most comic books and comic strips alike employ an entire cast of characters interacting with each other and therefore making for a much more interesting read. Peanuts would not be the same without Charlie Brown and Spider-Man would be forced to live his life in solitude were it not for the likes of Mary Jane.

What about COOL COSTUMES???

What about them? Does Snoopy not don his familiar red scarf and goggles to fight the Red Baron? Case closed.

The Amazing Spider-Man has enjoyed success in the pages of the funny papers and Peanuts once had a comic book to call its own.

You see, comic books and comic strips are basically a mirror image of each other. Why? Because it is the same field… only the format in which it is presented is different.

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