Here's a preview of the PBS 13 part documentary series "The History of the Comic Strip" by Ken Burns. This clip premiered at the 2011 Reuben Awards last month to wild audience reaction:
SPOILERISH ALERT: OK, if you watched it you know it's a parody, presented by the one and only Tom Gammill. For the first few seconds we watched on the big screen at the Reubens ceremony, I thought it was for real. Since the video just popped on the big screen in the balllroom at the Copley Hotel, with no introduction, I thought it best to preserve the conceit that, yes, there was going to be a big ol' documentary on this great American art form.
Well, there won't be.
The parody, like all good parodies, raises a point; namely: "HOW ABOUT IT, KEN?!?!?!?!"
A year ago this month, Michael Cavna, writing for The Washington Post's "Comic Riffs," posed the question.
There's an inherent problem with the cold medium of the moving image showing us the hot medium of the still image. A movie moves at the pace that the director decides. You, the comic strip fan, loses the choice to linger.
And we have also lost the greats: Outcault, McCay, Gray, Herriman, Gould, Percy Crosby, Roy Crane, Charles Schulz, Mauldin, and more.
Would a documentary about dead, rich white male cartoonists be able to get funding?
Hat tip to Tom Gammill! Thanks, Tom.