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Can comics save the American newspaper?
A columnist in The Advertiser recounts the use of comics to sell newspapers in the early 20th century and as American circulations are in decline, circulations in Latin American and Asia are growing in part because of a resurgence in comics.
Just recently a friend of mine, Terry Brown, shared with me an illustrated history of the comics. The book was a remarkable read as it highlighted much of Harms-worth’s work with Amalga-mated Press. It also illustrated very well the history of comics and the use of color to attract magazine readership. Comic strips would later be the focal point of many weekly and daily newspapers, and while comics seem to be a thing of the past there was a time when the success of the comic strip actually sold papers. Comics also became successful magazines lasting well into the 1960s and 70s.
Alfred Harmsworth was indeed a publishing genius who had a vision for his paper products. Today newspapers are in need of a publisher who can capture the imagination of the public through the medium of print. Otherwise I fear newspapers will slowly go the way of the comics in North America as worldwide circulation continues to decline in developing countries.
Newspaper circulation throughout much of North America is in rapid decline. In Latin and South America, readership is holding its own with modest growth in newspaper circulation. The biggest jump in newspaper circulation, however, is in Asia with tremendous growth in China.
And guess what is driving that growth? It’s the comics, of course, as well as the country’s appetite for business news. While comics have declined in much of North America and Europe, the comic strip is receiving a revival in Asia.