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Seeking superheroes

With all the world's bad apples, we need to keep in mind the evil of greed and losing sight of right and wrong. It's less than a month now until the New Year, and we hope more adults make a decision to be positive role models to counter or at least offset the deeds of the dastardly.

SIDEBAR by JIM FRANCO/SPOTLIGHT CONTRIBUTING WRITER

History panels; How Ben Franklin's satire became today's graphic novels

Comics have evolved from the one-panel political satire first drawn by Ben Franklin and published in 1754 to what are now known as graphic novels, a series of short stories with an accompanying in-depth, vibrant visual representation.

Comic books are enduring because they are the simplest form of production to telling a complete story, with pictures and dialogue together, said Jevon Kasitch of Electric City Comics in Schenectady.

There are a few landmarks in the evolution of comic books. In 1896, Richard Fenton Outalt incorporated the balloon, where he wrote what the character said and pointed to their mouth with a tail-like swoosh, in his comic book "The Yellow Kid."

The Golden Age of comics came after the stock market crash of 1929. In the 1930s, some of the most popular enduring comic books were written, like Tarzan, Dick Tracy, Flash Gordon and Superman " which kicked off the superhero blitz when it was first published in 1938, according to comicbookwebsites.com.

Those comics, Kasitch said, came about as an accident.

"In the early 1930s, printing press owners only made money when the presses were running, so when they were not printing the newspaper, they started printing comic books," he said.

The superheroes in those comics filled an important niche.

"For the longest time, the comic book was the only way a person could escape and be a superhero and help save the world," Kasitch said. "Now, that desire can be fulfilled at the movies, on television and the Internet."

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