An inclusive history of the slap-strips which have become our national reading habit, this analyzes not only their particular type of funniness but their ability to reflect national characteristics, popular preoccupations, American life in general. Here is a chronological development, from the first appearance in 1896 of the Yellow Kid, to the early classics (the Katzenjammer Kids, Barney Goegle, etc.). The various generic groups, comic kids, girl's girlies, animals, he-men and superman, westerns, the Smart Set, and today's Barnaby and Sad Sack. And lastly the comic books, which in spite of disapproval, are the steady reading diet of over 90% of America's children. Comprehensive coverage, this will serve for research and reference, but is not the enlightened interpretation of Gilbert Seldes' Seven Lively Arts.