The first science fiction comic strip was My Skygack from Mars, which was created by AD Condo. It was a comedy strip that appear in 1907 in the newspapers of the time. Buck Rodgers was the first serious sci-fi comic strip that made it's debut in 1928. This was followed by Flash Gordon and Dan Dare, which was created in the UK. Sci-fi comics are now extremely popular all over the world and the many science fiction comic book authors continue to produce highly imaginative plots and concepts.
Many of the first comics were sci-fi, and the introduction of Superman from Planet Comics gave rise to the super hero sub-genre. During the 1950s, EC Comics published science fiction comics to great success. The storylines and characters began to increase in sophistication, and US sci-fi comics continued into the 1960s with stories for both children and adolescents. By the late 1960s, adults became interested in the genre and began a wave of underground comics.
The Manga comics from Japan first appeared in the 1950s and Atro Boy by Osamu Tezuka is believed to be the fist sci-fi comic from Manga. Manga became very popular and spawned high popular series, such as Galaxy Express 999 by Leiji Matsumoto, Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo and Ghost in the Shell by Masamune Shirow.
Sci-fi graphic novels first appeared in the 60s and comic strips with a longer and more developed storyline. Graphic novels have the advantage of being able to portray specific concepts that would be difficult to put into words. Robots, time travel, virtual reality and mecha are popular concepts in sci-fi graphic novels. The graphic novel has become increasingly sophisticated in it's artistry and storylines and tend to be aimed more at adolescents and adults.
The USA sci-fi comic scene tends to mainly be in the superhero genre, and DC comics and Marvel comics are among the most successful. They have produce the most well known superheroes, such as Superman, Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and many others. These superheroes all have elements of sci fi, although plots tend to be set on earth in the modern time rather than in the future.
Manga comics from Japan tend to be set in a futuristic setting. The famous sci-fi Manga comics include, Akira that was the inspiration behind The Matrix films and Ghost in the shell is set in a futuristic dystopia.
The most successful and popular sci-fi comic books tend to reflect the technological zeitgeist of the time they were written. The older comics were hand drawn and coloured by the artist, but modern sci-fi comics and graphic novels now employ computer generated images with the help of corel, photoshop, illustrator and paintbucket.
Sci-fi is a very loose term and there are many sub-genres. Many have brought in new concepts, such as the cyberpunk idea in the graphic novel, Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis. Warren Ellis and other comic book authors use the medium to make a social commentary. Alan Moore's V for Vendetta is a classic example of this sci-fi sub-genre that makes a social statement set in a dystopian future.
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