SYMHC Live at NYCC: Rodolphe Töpffer and the First Comic Book


From the 1833 edition of "Histoire de monsieur Jabot" by Rodolphe Töpffer.  Public domain
From the 1833 edition of "Histoire de monsieur Jabot" by Rodolphe Töpffer. Public domain

Before there were superheroes, a Swiss teacher drew entertaining doodles for friends. As he developed his sketches into stories told with multiple captioned images, he inadvertently invented the first sequential art comics in the Western world.

Holly's Research:

  • Knudde, Kjell. “Rodolphe Töpffer.” Lambiek Comiclopedia. May 6, 2017. https://www.lambiek.net/artists/t/Töpffer.htm
  • Le Pedriel, Joseph. “Töpffer, Rodolphe.” Alta Plana. https://www.altaplana.be/dictionary/Töpffer_rodolphe
  • Richmond, W.D. “The Grammar of Lithography.” Cambridge University Press. 2010. Brain, Marshall. "How Stone Lithography Works." February 20, 2007. HowStuffWorks.com. http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/arts/artwork/stone-lithography.htm
  • Figueiredo, Sergio C. “The Rhetorical Invention of Comics: A Selection of Rodolphe Töpffer's Late Reflections on Composing Image-Text Narratives.” ImageTexT. Vol. 8, No. 4. 2016. http://www.english.ufl.edu/imagetext/archives/v8_4/figueiredo/University of Florida. Groensteen, Thierry. “M. Töpffer invente la bande dessinée.” Les Impressions Nouvelles. 2014.
  • Toffer, Rodolphe. “The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck.” New York. Wilson & Co. 184?. Dartmouth college digital collection: https://www.dartmouth.edu/~library/digital/collections/books/ocn259708589/
  • Murray, Christopher John. “Encyclopedia of the Romantic Era, 1760-1850, Volume 2.” Taylor and Francis. 2004. Page 1148.
  • McCloud, Scott. “Understanding Comics.” Paw Prints. 2008.
  • Smolderen, Thierry. “The Origins of Comics: From William Hogarth to Winsor McCay.” University Press of Mississippi. 2014.
  • Mainardi, Patricia. “Another World: Nineteenth-century Illustrated Print Culture.” Yale University Press. 2017.
  • Aoki, Deb. “Early Origins of Japanese Comics.” ThoughtCo. May 3, 2017. https://www.thoughtco.com/early-origins-of-japanese-comics-2282750
  • Cha, Kai-Ming. “The Historical Roots of Manga.” Publishers Weekly. April 8, 2008. https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/new-titles/adult-announcements/article/7050-the-historical-roots-of-manga.html

Topics in this Podcast: literary history, European history, live shows, art history, art, 19th century