Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

August 27, 2007

Controversies Simmer About History of Comics and Its Modern Nature

Two conversations spread across the Internet worth noting: Eddie Campbell on the graphic novel and how more sloppily conceived definitions fall short of the mark; the Metabunker fellas on Rodophe Topffer as the earliest cartoonist.

I find Topffer interesting in all the same ways as everyone else does, but did anyone worth considering ever really take the Yellow Kid seriously as an artistic starting point? I see that mentioned whenever someone brings up Topffer -- Gary Groth gets beaten with that argument construction in this movie trailer as if the other comics people caught him in a goof-up. I remember writing about 19th century German cartooning as comics when I was a graduate student in 1992, and I wasn't exactly rich in my comics knowledge. I always thought it was pretty clear that the Yellow Kid began comics the same way Christopher Columbus discovered America -- not in any literal sense, but in a sense where the economic and cultural forces were now combined behind it to lock into place a certain kind of future development for the industry. Did anyone after 1974 or so think otherwise?
posted 3:10 am PST | Permalink

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