In 1837 there came a small, seemingly inconsequential shift in the way stories were told. One Obadiah Oldbuck was drawn into existence as a series of sequential pictures with text captions. It was originally created with the purpose of being a diversion for the creator and his friends, but all too unexpectedly it became incredibly popular in both the US and France.
This is often considered the first comic, and Rodolphe Töpffer is often considered by many people to be the father of the genre. National Comic Book Day honors this man and everything that has come to follow from that first humble publication.
So now it’s time to learn about and celebrate National Comic Book Day!
Learn About National Comic Book Day
National Comic Book Day has been created so that fans of comic books can enjoy and pay tribute to this form of entertainment. This day gives avid comic book fans, as well as average citizens, the perfect opportunity to read a comic book, no matter whether this is something that a person would usually do or not.
There are a lot of comics around the world that are incredibly popular. One of the most popular comics is One Piece, which has sold more than 473 million copies around the world. One Piece is a Japanese manga series, which has been illustrated and written by Eiichiro Oda since 1999.
The story is one that is about following the adventures of a boy who is named Monkey D. Luffy. After eating a Devil Fruit by accident, the boy’s body gained the properties of rubber. The comic follows the boy as he goes on search of ‘One Piece’ – the world’s ultimate treasure – in order to become the next King of the Pirates.
This is just one of many comics that have gained mass popularity all across the world. Others include The Adventures of Tintin, Case Closed, Naruto, Golgo 13, Dragon Ball, Lucky Luke, Peanuts, and Asterix.
In fact, Asterix has sold more than 370 million copies. This is a French comic that follows Gaulish warriors during the Julius Caesar era as they fight and have adventures in the Roman Empire.
As is the case for many comics, Asterix has been adapted into a number of different films and games. There is even an Asterix theme park, which is based on the series. The theme park opened in 1989 and it is located 22 miles to the north of Paris.
Of course, it’s important not to forget about some of the most classic comic books that have appeared in the past, such as Superman, Batman, Captain America, Wolverine, the Incredible Hulk, Josie and the Pussycats, Archie and Jughead, and so many more.
History of National Comic Book Day
While Obadiah Oldbuck was considered to be the first comic, in 1933 the publication known as Famous Funnies is often considered to be the first actual comic book, though it didn’t actually use the name “comic book” at the time. This comic book was produced in the United States from a collection of comic strips that had appeared earlier in newspapers.
While the term ‘comic’ implies that the tone of these strips are always humorous, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Comics have been used as a medium for telling stories of all kinds. From funny strips to darker styles, comic books encompass humor, drama, mystery, fantasy, crime and so much more.
While the debate raged for a long time as to whether or not comics could be considered literature, it seems to have been the 1980s publication of Maus that settled that argument once and for all.
Maus was published by the American cartoonist Art Spiegelman, and was originally published in a serialized form for 11 years from 1980-1991. This comic book combined art and words to act as a recounting of the experiences of his father as a Polish Jew and a survivor of the Holocaust. The story covered the era from the years before World War II in the 1930s, straight through to the liberation of his parents from the Nazi Concentration camps at the end of the war in the mid-1940s.
Maus is often considered by some people to be one of the most important texts on the Holocaust and a painfully real retelling of the struggle and survival of Jews through these dark times. It has also stood as a shining example of the fact that comic books could cover incredibly difficult subjects in a real and approachable way.
National Comic Book Day Timeline
First Comic Book is officially published
Considered to be the first comic book ever published, The Yellow Kid in McFadden’s Flats, is published in New York with the words “comic book” on its back cover.
First Monthly Comic Book Arrives
Comics Monthly is published, containing reprints of comic strips in newspapers, featuring strips like Mike & Ike or Polly and Her Pals.
Superman is Published in Action Comics
Considered the beginning of the Golden Age of Comics, Superman makes his debut in the first Action Comics.
Stan Lee Publishes First Comic
In Captain America Comics #3, Stan Lee makes his debut into the world of comics, and he will eventually become an icon with more than 50 years in the industry.
Comic Books Get a Bad Rap
Psychiatrist Fredric Wertham writes that comic books are corrupting the youth of America in his book Seduction of the Innocent.
How to Celebrate National Comic Book Day
Whether a person grew up glued to the pages of comic books, or they have never really experienced the wonders that lie between their pages, National Comic Book Day encourages all people to get out and embrace this incredible storytelling medium.
Read Some Comic Books
This day presents a great opportunity to read a comic and truly appreciate this form of story-telling and illustration. It’s the perfect day to grab a comic that you have never read before! Even for those who are not a massive comic fan, there’s the possibility to find a new appreciation for the art of comics once you give yourself a few quiet moments to read one.
This isn’t a day to simply peruse the funny pages in the newspaper, but to head out to that local comic book shop and remember or discover the amazing tales that lie between the pages of comic books. Whether choosing a classic superhero comic book character, like Spiderman, or a Japanese manga series like One-Punch Man, this is a great day to explore. For those who don’t have a local comic book store, see what the library might have on offer!
Enjoy a Movie Based on Comic Book Characters
As mentioned previously, a lot of comics have been transformed into different films, television shows, and even video games that can be watched, played and enjoyed on this day. Therefore, it’s possible to make the most of different forms of entertainment when anyone is celebrating National Comic Book Day.
Try out some of these popular comic book movies and shows:
- The Dark Knight (2008). This very dark representation of Gotham City in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy features the legendary performance of Heath Ledger as The Joker.
- Daredevil (2015-2018). The blind Matt Murdock acts as a vigilante in this retelling of the original 1964 Stan Lee character who is a lawyer by day and cleans up New York City crime at night.
- Riverdale (2017-2021). Recreating a noir version of the comic books The Archies, this teen drama was originally meant for the big screen but was adapted for television and ran on the CW.
Host a Party for National Comic Book Day
For those who have family members or friends who are big fans of comic books and their characters, why not make the most of National Comic Book Day and host a comic-themed party?
An ideal way to start is to get everyone to dress up as their favorite comic book character, like Superman, Wonder Woman, Popeye or Captain America. This is a great way to have a lot of fun and a lot of laughs with the people you love the most. Of course, it’s necessary to base the decor, food, and drinks on a comic book as well, to really add some more fun and vibrancy to the mix!
Try out some of these clever ideas for a National Comic Book Day themed Party:
- For decorations, choose a particular character and hang streamers or balloons in their theme colors (red, blue and gold for Wonder Woman, black and yellow for Batman or blue and red with spiders for Spiderman).
- Comic-book themed snacks can be loads of fun! Decorate cookies with the Incredibles logo, make rice cakes into Captain America’s shield using salami and cheese, or serve “chocolate frosted sugar bombs” reminiscent of Calvin and Hobbes.
- For entertainment, be sure to have everyone bring their favorite comic books to share or swap with others. And don’t forget to have comic themed videos or movies playing in the background.
Create Your Own Comic Book
For those who would consider themselves to be avid fans of comic books, or for those who are artists or writers, why not use the day to write and draw a new and original comic? If this is something a person has always wanted to do, now is the perfect time to get started!
National Comic Book Day FAQs
When is National Comic Book Day?
National Comic Book Day takes place on September 25 of each year.
What is National Comic Book Day?
National Comic Book Day is the celebration of the history and impact of the medium of comics.
How to celebrate National Comic Book Day?
Celebrating National Comic Book Day can be fun when dressing up as a superhero, watching a comic movie, reading a comic book or writing a comic book.
Are comic books considered literature?
Many people would consider comic books to be a form of “hybrid” literature and art together.