Over the years the University Press of Mississippi has published a terrific series of interviews in their Conversations With Comic Artists series, with volumes devoted to Charles M. Schulz, Milt Caniff, Mort Walker, Chester Brown, Stan Lee, R. Crumb, Howard Charykin and probably others. I just now came upon a friend's Facebook post about a new book from them, due out in a few days: The Origins of Comics: From William Hogarth to Winsor McCay, by Thierry Smolderen. The promo copy is enough to make me say, "I'm in!" Here's an excerpt:
"Thierry Smolderen presents a cultural landscape whose narrative differs in many ways from those presented by other historians of the comic strip. Rather than beginning his inquiry with the popularly accepted 'sequential art' definition of the comic strip, Smolderen instead wishes to engage with the historical dimensions that inform that definition. His goal is to understand the processes that led to the twentieth-century comic strip, the highly recognizable species of picture stories that he sees crystallizing around 1900 in the United States...Across eight chapters, he acutely points out how the effect of the printing press and the mass advent of audiovisual technologies (photography, audio recording, and cinema) at the end of the nineteenth century led to a new twentieth-century visual culture...Remaps the history of this influential art form..."