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Up, Up, and Away with Magazines and Comic Books



Up, Up, and Away with Magazines and Comic Books
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.34

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    ezine, mcclure, printing, red-caped, soft-cover, incarnation, domino, matte, revolutionary, peruse, publication, glossy, formula, literary, rivalry, reading
     content words:    Henry Luce, Britton Hadden, Sports Illustrated, Joe Shuster, Action Comics, Lex Luthor, Super Cat, Nazi Germany, Although Ezines


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Up, Up, and Away with Magazines and Comic Books
By Colleen Messina
  

1     When you go to a doctor's office, you can peruse magazines and comic books while you wait. However, reading magazines was not always a common pastime. In the nineteenth century, it was a status symbol! In the 1880s, magazines were only read by rich people, and had a serious, literary tone. Comic books and superheroes didn't arrive on the scene until the twentieth century.
 
2     Because magazines were expensive to produce and to mail, only the wealthy could afford them. Then a revolutionary rotary printing press was invented that could feed three rolls of paper through the press at the same time, and magazines became much more popular. By 1883, a Scottish-born publisher named S.S. McClure had a sincere desire to make magazines available to many people. He decided to lower the price of his magazine to only 15 cents. McClure's became a great success, and its low price had a domino effect on the entire magazine industry. Many other magazines soon dropped their prices, and some cost as little as 10 cents. Magazine circulation increased tremendously because of the lower prices.
 
3     A magazine in the 1800s didn't look at all like the magazines of today. They looked like small, soft-cover books. They had no headlines and only small illustrations. Artists engraved the illustrations on copper or wood first, which was a tedious process. Serious readers started at the first page of the magazine and read the tiny type straight through to the end, column by column, and it was a lot of work! It was impossible to just flip through a magazine or skim its contents.

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