All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Jessica K Dallow

Advisory Committee Members

Lucy Curzon

Katherine McIver

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2012

Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Catherine Jeffrey Jones's comic strip Idyl ran for forty-four installments in the National Lampoon from January 1972 through February 1976. The work was typically published as one-page vignettes revolving around the meanderings of nude female figures, talking animals, and sentient vegetation. The large distribution of the magazine resulted in Idyl having an unusual reach and influence. Jones is one of the most recognizable artists in the fields of comic strip and science fiction art. The innovations she spearheaded would have a lasting influence and be critical in the evolution of these genres in the decade following the publication of Idyl. These innovations would involve the appropriation of imagery from a myriad of earlier artists into a single, unified vision. Many of Jones's stylistic and narrative practices would become commonplace in the following decade resulting in a number of independent science fiction and fantasy comics concerned with quality draftsmanship and concentrated on the figure. Idyl would also be the most obvious forerunner to the influx of European comic strips that would be printed in the National Lampoon's sister publication Heavy Metal magazine. This thesis will contextualize Idyl within the larger art world, the genre of science fiction and fantasy, and the comic industry. It will explore the formal aspects of the work as well as its narrative themes. The limits placed upon Idyl through its specific venue of the National Lampoon will be considered along with the opportunities that same venue provided. Although comic strip art is gaining popularity as a field of scholarly investigation, science fiction and fantasy art is still woefully underrepresented. Like many artists, Jones worked in both of these fields at a time when their convergence was most pronounced. Idyl is the most recognizable accomplishments of one of the leading science fiction illustrators, and this thesis is the first in-depth study of the artist's signature work.

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