One of the things that fascinating me at this point is where and when the notion of a ‘comic strip. i.e. a discernible sequential narrative arose. Reading classic comic histories there are a lot of different opinions but none seem to go back beyond Punch and as in Roger Sabin, Scott McCloud and the more recent book by Jared Gardner there different views depending on position i.e. USA, Europe etc. There also the arguments over when the ‘central CONTINUING character’ present’ a quote from Sabin. He cites Ally Sloper 1884 however I have already found some work by both Seymour ( The Heiress 1830) and William Elmes (published 1812) that seem to challenge these dates and notions. The Elmes pictured below has a identifiable protagonist even if the material is highly racist in ‘The Adventures of Johnny Newcome’. There are also several freestanding ‘panels’ attributed to him that may or may not have been cut from a larger canvas or may have been intended like Rakes Progress to be ‘one-offs’ in sequence. I am still looking for the answers to that.
McCloud states on page 17 of ‘Understanding Comics’ (1993) an otherwise excellent drawn examination of the field that Topffer ..
‘featured the first interdependent combination of words and pictures seen in Europe’.
I would say that wrong in light of image above although exactly what he means by interdependent could be argued if the commentary is verbalised speech as opposed to ‘titling’. Again an area to be further explored.
Our ever valid and controversial wikipedia commentator states…in line with most commentaries that Topffer should be considered the originator but as in the illustration below I see no difference between this and Elmes….
Was it possible that continental practitioners were influenced by post Hogarth sequences is part of my investigation. I have also found some curious confluences between French and British images…..
The Swiss teacher, author and caricature artist Rodolphe Töpffer (Geneva, 1799–1846) is considered the father of the modern comic strips. His illustrated stories such as Histoire de M. Vieux Bois (1827), first published in the USA in 1842 as The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck or Histoire de Monsieur Jabot (1831), inspired subsequent generations of German and American comic artists. In 1865, the Germanpainter, author and caricaturist Wilhelm Busch created the strip Max and Moritz, about two trouble-making boys, which had a direct influence on the American comic strip. Max and Moritz was a series of severely moralistic tales in the vein of German children’s stories such as Struwwelpeter (“Shockheaded Peter”); in one, the boys, after perpetrating some mischief, are tossed into a sack of grain, run through a mill and consumed by a flock of geese. Max and Moritz provided an inspiration for German immigrant Rudolph Dirks, who created the Katzenjammer Kids in 1897. Familiar comic-strip iconography such as stars for pain, sawing logs for snoring, speech balloons, and thought balloons originated in Dirks’ strip.