The stories are excellent antecedents of the modern comic book, with their wildly exaggerated heroics.
Even the wimmen are impossibly tough in these tall tales, told in rough backwoods-speak, as in this brief excerpt from 1847:
"One day when Oak Wing's sister was going to a baptizing, and had her feed in a bag under her arm, she seed a big bear that had come out from a holler tree, and he looked first at her, and then the feed, as if he didn't know which to eat fust. He kinder poked out his nose and smelt the dinner which war sassengers maid of bear's meat and crocodile's liver.
Academia has decided that the earlier Nashville issues are superior, in part because the naive design of their woodcuts appeals to modernist artistic taste (the snake drawing above is a good example), and in part because unpleasant racist elements creep into the later offerings. But i would enjoy the chance to look at the subject more closely under my own cognizance. Here's a later cover, from the 1850 Fisher issue, which is not far from the exaggerated perspective and dynamics of comic books.
(more thoughts to come)
Labels: old books (2)