Comic Cuts - one of the world's first 'illustrated newspapers'
The publication Comic Cuts launched in 1890, making it one of the world’s earliest 'illustrated newspapers', or comic books. It stood apart from its rivals because publisher Alfred Harmsworth undercut the business model of other comics, and would relentlessly advertise that it cost just one halfpenny (half the cost of other publications).
Its low cost contributed to its popularity, and its success marked a turning point in the history of British comics, with Harmsworth releasing another comic, Illustrated Chips, just weeks later, to satisfy public demand.
Its low production costs were partly due to plagiarism, cutting the expense of content. Early issues reprinted cartoons from American magazines, as well as from a previous title Scraps. The latter’s publisher brought about a copyright action in response. Consequently, Comic Cuts then advertised for original artistic material, and attracted people such as Roland Hill, the first professional artist to work on the comic. Others include Ken Reid, Albert Pease, Oliver Veal, Tom Browne and Jack Butler Yeats.
Comic Cuts lasted 3006 issues, and during its tenure, the title absorbed Golden Penny Comic in 1928, Jolly Comic and Larks in 1939 and 1940. In 1953, Comic Cuts ceased as a title when it was merged into Knockout. At that time, it held the record for the most issues of a British weekly comic for 46 years – until it was overtaken by The Dandy in 1999.
Harmsworth later started the Daily Mail newspaper.
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