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"Vous avez créé le genre et vous n'avez pas encore vu le dernier de vos imitateurs."
("You have created the genre and you haven't yet seen the last of your imitators.")
Letter from J.-J. Dubochet to Rodolphe Töpffer, July 1, 1845
concept of modern comics emerged and evolved in the mind
and pen of Swiss teacher and part-time
artist and writer Rodolphe Töpffer (1799-1846).
the following pages you’ll find the complete original manuscript version of his very
first picture-story, drawn in 1827 under the title Histoire de Mr. Vieux
Bois, in 30 pages with 158 panels. It was only published ten years later, completely redrawn
in one single row and expanded to 88 pages, i.e. 198 drawings. By that time two more of
Töpffer’s stories had already seen print.
OUR HISTORY BEGINS HERE
(click to read the complete story)
about the extraordinarily confusing chronology of Rodolphe Töpffer’s picture-stories can be
followed in my Synopsis.
second edition of the published version of Vieux Bois appeared in 1839,
now with 92 numbered pages and 220 drawings for the story itself (plus the
frontispiece), and is
at present available in album format from both Éditions du Seuil and Éditions Pierre
Horay in France, together with other stories by Töpffer.
This 1839 edition of Vieux Bois can also be seen complete at the Michigan State University, together with another Töpffer story, the rare 1842 British Beau Ogleby, in color.
of yet that
same 1839 second edition of Vieux Bois can also be seen at the surprising
Comics, together with extracts from the Aubert pirate copy and
the complete unpublished Monsieur Trictrac.
elements on Töpffer are also to be found on the web, namely at the following recommended
Töpffer is of course one of the recurring topics on the specialized e-mail discussion
list, PlatinumAgeComics, which focuses on comics before the 1930s.
Finally, I have to recommend at least the
following print publications:
Early Comic Strip vol. 2: The Nineteenth Century
David Kunzle; University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oxford, 1994.
L’Invention de la Bande Dessinée
Groensteen and Benoît Peeters ; Hermann, éditeur des sciences et des arts,
; Hermann, éditeur des sciences et des arts, Paris, 1994.
The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck: The First American Comic Book
Castelli, intro by Robert Beerbohm; Napoli Comicon, March 2003.
bilingual edition completely reprinting the 1842 American Obadiah Oldbuck,
and including also a Martin Mystère story and a reprint of the New York
World Sunday supplement for May 5, 1895, with the first appearance of the
The Victorian Age (The American Comic Book: 1795-1899)
Robert Beerbohm and Richard D. Olson, in The Official Overstreet Comic Book
Price Guide, 33rd edition, Gemstone Publishing, 2003.
and revised article from previous editions of the catalog)
Robert L. Beerbohm and Leonardo De Sá, magazine Comic Art #3, Summer 2003.
and much revised article from the first version by Beerbohm & Wheeler in magazine
#6, January 2001, published by the Musée de la Bande Dessinée, Angoulême,
The editor of these pages can be contacted at click here
My deep thanks to Michel Kempeneers and Mike Kidson, who revised the whole site.
I received some very good feedback regarding both my Töpffer Comics Synopsis and this site.
|© Copyright 2003-05 Leonardo De Sá|