The story of screwball comics, with new research and rare art from some of the most hilarious cartoonists of all time. Both humorous and educational, this book is aimed at a general audience of all ages and at university comics studies programs. Before screwball became a movie genre, it was a staple of other forms of American culture, including newspaper comic strips. Emerging from the pressures of a rapidly accelerating technological and information-drenched society, screwball comics offered a healthy dose of laughter and perspective. The disruptive, manic, and surreal verbal-visual comedy of these funnies fostered an absurdist sensibility embraced by The Marx Brothers (who took their names from a popular comic strip), W. C. Fields, Tex Avery, Spike Jones, Ernie Kovacs, and Mad magazine. Comics scholar Paul C. Tumey traces the development of screwball as a genre in magazine cartoons and newspaper comics, presenting the work of around fifteen cartoonists, with an art-stuffed chapter on each. The book offers a wealth of previously un-reprinted comics unleashing fresh views of some of America's greatest and most-loved cartoonists, including George Herriman ( Krazy Kat ), E.C. Segar (creator of Popeye), Rube Goldberg ( The Inventions of Professor Lucifer G. Butts, A.K. ), Bill Holman ( Smokey Stover ), and Frederick Opper ( Happy Hooligan ). In addition, readers will be delighted to discover previously lost screwball masters, such as Gene Ahern ( The Squirrel Cage ), Gus Mager ( Sherlocko the Monk ), Boody Rogers ( Sparky Watts ), Milt Gross ( Count Screwloose ), George Swanson ( $alesman $am ) and others.