Volume 93, Issue 95

Wednesday, March 29, 2000


Shithead keeps talking Trash

Horn sees world in comic light

Can we see some ID?

Days, Daisies all worthy efforts

Horn sees world in comic light

By Andrea Ellyn
Gazette Writer

Maurice Horn probably knows more about comic art and cartoons than any cartoonist in the world. And he isn't even an artist.

As an internationally recognized authority on comics and cartoons, Horn has written encyclopedias on the industry.

By dividing his time between New York and France, Horn has been able to capture the essence of American and European comic art over the last 30 years.

Being a modest fellow, Horn indicates he became an authority in a somewhat random manner. While he was in school, there were no programs in comic art, but Horn later attended Journaux Illustre in France to learn more about the medium. It was here that he started writing comic articles and releasing papers on the subject.

Horn's most impressive early work was a 1967 exhibition at the Louvre in Paris, entitled Bande Dessinee et Figuration Narrative.

"It was mostly, but not exclusively, devoted to the American comic strip," Horn recalls. It related to the current [trends] in the art world of the time, which was art figuration in France and pop art in the United States."

The second edition of The World Encyclopedia of Comics was released two years ago. Horn, however, has fond memories of the first edition of the work, written in 1974.

"By that time I already knew a lot of people in the industry in America and in France. It was just a question of getting people to write," he laughs. "It took about two years and was a daunting task because nobody had done it before. I became an international authority from the World Encyclopedia of Comics because I got insights [resulting from the work] from specialists from all over the world."

Comic art often tackles the topics of the politics and thoughts present in the country at the time. Driving this point home, Horn says, is the fact that France's present number two best-selling title is held by a nameless comic. This pamphlet-sized comic, he explains, shows the effect of globalization on the average worker who has been down-sized, following their bleak daily lives. "It unifies in the sense that it pertains to the schools of thought that are prevalent in France and intrinsic in French society," Horn asserts.

As an expert on comics for the past 30 years, it is important to consider the effect of the information age on the future of comics. Horn sees comics continuing in much the same vein as they currently are, simply because there will always be room for the printed page.

"To download a book costs much more than buying it in a bookstore, but I see another dimension coming in the internet, as a lot of creators are putting their daily comics online," Horn optimistically states. "The next step will be to have a fusion on the internet between the comics and the animated cartoon.

"The internet is a next step for comics where an interactive strip will allow endings to reflect the input of the viewer."

Maurice Horn will be lecturing at Western tonight in Somerville House, Rm. 3345, at 7 p.m..

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Copyright The Gazette 2000