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News cartoons’ functions change with the age

Author  :  PENG LEI     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2018-11-26

The History of Modern and Contemporary News Cartoons in China

The History of Modern and Contemporary News Cartoons in China by Hu Zhengqiang, published by People’s Publishing House, is a new research achievement in the field of image-based news. 

Based on the historical development of society from 1840 to 1949 and centering on news cartoons, the book outlines the development of Chinese news cartoons in modern times.

The author puts forward the hypothesis that the news content should be the core concern of studies of modern and contemporary news cartoons. The book highlights the independence and subjectivity of news cartoons. Externally, their status changed from being subsidiary to being independent; internally, they became more specialized and standardized. 

In this research, the author not only pays attention to the analysis of news texts, but also systematically inspects individuals, organizations and social environments of news cartoon production, so as to reveal the internal relationship between news cartoons, news and social changes from all aspects.

Since the late Qing Dynasty, news cartoons published in pictorial newspapers, comprehensive newspapers and periodicals, and special cartoon magazines have always been closely linked to the events of their time, showing strong news attributes. News commentary and news reports are two different types of news, which functioned as subjective comments and objective reports respectively. From 1840 to 1949, the national crisis intensified. In order to save the nation and survive, intellectuals advocated enlightening the public. In this context, news cartoons combined comments with reports, and they more often made subjective commentary. 

Hu is not satisfied with merely an investigation of the changes in the intrinsic attributes of cartoon news, and he further explores the theoretical issues of news cartoons in different periods.

The book focuses on an analysis of 28 cartoon journalists, and many works are chosen from old newspapers and magazines that have been forgotten for decades. Based on the original materials, the author insists on analyzing and presenting the development of news cartoons in China in the past hundred years from three aspects: works, figures and publications. 

Newspapers and periodicals are the main bearer of news. The book covers 25 comic publications, many of which have not been well studied. Zhang checks the original materials, makes careful textual research, and identifies the specific time of creation and publication, the founder, the process of publishing and its representative works.

In analyzing these works, the author interprets paintings, figures and periodicals in a historical context. Firstly, a three-dimensional analysis of the works is carried out from the aspects of narration, communication and art. Secondly, the works are combined to show the overall characteristics of the works at that stage. 

 

(edited by CHEN ALONG)

Editor: Yu Hui

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