A comprehensive survey of fifty years of comics explores how such characters as Buster Brown, Krazy Kat, and Li’l Abner reflected societal attitudes and changes in the first half of the twentieth century, providing in-depth biographies of twenty-one influential comic creators and featuring rare origin. In the five decades after the Yellow Kid first appeared in 1895, the funnies became an essential element of American life. Comic strip characters-Buster Brown, the Katzenjammer Kids, Krazy Kat, Tarzan, Dick Tracy, Popeye, Blondie, Li’l Abner-were everywhere. They starred in live-action and animated films, stage plays, and radio programs. Their phrases invaded the language; their adventures, which reflected societal changes, were retold in books and inspired hit songs. This visually stunning, comprehensive survey-copiously illustrated with rare original comics art-is the most authoritative history of prewar American newspaper comics currently in print. It documents the major trends in the funnies business, decade by decade, and presents in-depth biographies of 21 of the most influential creators of the era. Walker is founder and former director of the International Museum of Cartoon Art.