Humorous art has roots reaching back to the early days of civilization and was practiced in all parts of the civilized world, even in ancient Egypt. Like other art forms, it challenged the skills of professional artists, who spent some easy and many difficult days solving the problems of their craft. "Life's Darkest Moment" gives us a behind-the-scenes view of this creative process as seen by one of its contemporary practitioners, H. T. Webster. Two of America's most articulate humorists were E. B. White and James Thurber, who were friends and colleagues at The New Yorker magazine, where they shared an office. "Humor," remarked Thurber, "is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility," and E. B. White observed, "Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing died in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind." I often think of these two when I am studying cartoons and have come to appreciate their sound advice. So, I will not perform any dissections here, but will present a sampling of comic art along with my views on its methods and its mission.
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