In this definitive study of one of popular culture¿s favorite genres Robert C. Harvey, a cartoonist and comics critic, traces the evolution of the comic book as a potent form of narrative art. He takes it from its beginnings in the 1930s through the most contemporary of productions in the mid-1990s. In defining comic book aesthetics Harvey establishes both a critical perspective and a vocabulary for evaluating the art. Because he is an able practitioner himself, his insights are especially valuable. As he demonstrates how words and pictures function together to tell stories in ways unique to the medium, he explains the processes of narrative breakdown, page layout, and panel composition, and shows how these aspects of the art form can be manipulated for dramatic effects. Enhanced by many illustrations, this detailed examination of comic book art includes work from both the mainstream and the counterculture, both veteran and newcomer. Whether traditional or iconoclastic, their cartoon art continues to uphold the aesthetic that Harvey finds to be the basis of cartooning.