A cartoon is a form of two-dimensional illustrated visual art. While the specific definition has changed over time, modern usage refers to a typically non-realistic or semi-realistic drawing or painting intended for satire, caricature, or humor, or to the artistic style of such works. An artist who creates cartoons is called a cartoonist.
The concept originated in the Middle Ages and first described a preparatory drawing for a piece of art, such as a painting, fresco, tapestry, or stained glass window. In the 19th century, it came to refer to humorous illustrations in magazines and newspapers, and in the early 20th century and onward it referred to comic strips and animated films.
A cartoon (from the Italian "cartone" and Dutch word "karton", meaning strong, heavy paper or pasteboard) is a full-size drawing made on sturdy paper as a study or modello for a painting, stained glass or tapestry. Cartoons were typically used in the production of frescoes, to accurately link the component parts of the composition when painted on damp plaster over a series of days (giornate).
Such cartoons often have pinpricks along the outlines of the design; a bag of soot was then patted or "pounced" over the cartoon, held against the wall to leave black dots on the plaster ("pouncing"). Cartoons by painters, such as the Raphael Cartoons in London and examples by Leonardo da Vinci, are highly prized in their own right. Tapestry cartoons, usually coloured, were followed by eye by the weavers on the loom.
Comics is a medium used to express ideas via images, often combined with text or other visual information. Comics frequently takes the form of juxtaposed sequences of panels of images. Often textual devices such as speech balloons, captions, and onomatopoeia indicate dialogue, narration, sound effects, or other information. Size and arrangement of panels contribute to narrative pacing. Cartooning and similar forms of illustration are the most common image-making means in comics; fumetti is a form which uses photographic images. Common forms of comics include comic strips, editorial and gag cartoons, and comic books. Since the late 20th century, bound volumes such as graphic novels, comics albums, and tankōbon have become increasingly common, and online webcomics have proliferated in the 21st century.
The history of comics has followed divergent paths in different cultures. Some scholars have posited a pre-history as far back as the Lascaux cave paintings. By the mid-20th century, comics flourished particularly in the United States, western Europe (especially in France and Belgium), and Japan. The history of European comics is often traced to Rodolphe Töpffer's cartoon strips of the 1830s, and became popular following the success in the 1930s of strips and books such as The Adventures of Tintin. American comics emerged as a mass medium in the early 20th century with the advent of newspaper comic strips; magazine-style comic books followed in the 1930s. Histories of Japanese comics and cartooning (manga) propose origins as early as the 12th century. Modern comic strips emerged in Japan in the early 20th-century, and the output of comics magazines and books rapidly expanded in the post-World War II era with the popularity of cartoonists such as Osamu Tezuka.
Comics has had a lowbrow reputation for much of its history, but towards the end of the 20th century began to find greater acceptance with the public and within academia. The English term comics derives from the humorous (or comic) work which predominated in early American newspaper comic strips; usage of the term has become standard also for non-humorous works. It is common in English to refer to the comics of different cultures by the terms used in their original languages, such as manga for Japanese comics, or bandes dessinées for French-language comics. There is no consensus amongst theorists and historians on a definition of comics; some emphasize the combination of images and text, some sequentiality or other image relations, and others historical aspects such as mass reproduction or the use of recurring characters. The increasing cross-pollination of concepts from different comics cultures and eras has further made defining the medium difficult.
San Diego Comic-Con International is a multigenre entertainment and comic convention held annually in San Diego, California. It was founded as the Golden State Comic Book Convention in 1970 by a group of San Diegans, which included Shel Dorf, Richard Alf, Ken Krueger and Mike Towry; later, it was called the "San Diego Comic Book Convention". The name, as given on its website, is Comic-Con International: San Diego; but it is commonly known simply as Comic-Con or the San Diego Comic-Con or "SDCC". It is a four-day event (Thursday-Sunday) held during the summer at the San Diego Convention Center in southern California. On the Wednesday evening prior to the official opening of the event, there is a preview for professionals, exhibitors, and select guests pre-registered for all four days.
Comic-Con International also produces two other conventions, WonderCon, held in Anaheim, California, and the Alternative Press Expo (APE), held in San Francisco. Since 1974, Comic-Con has bestowed its annual Inkpot Award on guests and persons of interest in the Popular Arts industries, as well as on members of Comic-Con's Board of Directors and the Convention Committee. It is also the home of the Will Eisner Awards.
Originally showcasing primarily comic books and science fiction/fantasy related film, television, and similar popular arts, the convention now includes a larger range of pop culture and entertainment elements across virtually all genres, including horror, animation, anime, manga, toys, collectible card games, video games, webcomics, and fantasy novels. According to Forbes, the convention is the "largest convention of its kind in the world"; Publishers Weekly wrote "Comic-Con International: San Diego is the largest show in North America"; it is also the largest convention held in San Diego. In 2010, it filled the San Diego Convention Center to capacity with more than 130,000 attendees.