Thursday, August 29, 2019

Rodolphe Töpffer: “The True Story of Monsieur Crépin" 1837

Rodolphe Töpffer (1799–1846) is considered the "father of the comic strip." He's the guy who created characters and narratives that were specialized to the graphic story. No drawing of famous figures from history or religion (like many of his predecessors in comics history did), these people with names like "Mr. Jabot, "Mr. Crépin" and "Dr. Festus" sprung out of his own imagination and were unique to his stories.

This all happened by accident. Or rather, accident of birth. Töpffer's eyesight was so bad he could not follow his father and become a painter. So he became a professor and doodled on the side. When friends saw his dashed-off doodles -- which were raw and scratchy due to his bad eyesight -- they encouraged him to publish.
Here is "The True Story of Monsieur Crépin,” first published in 1837, which is about a long-suffering father who is trying to find a tutor for his children. Chaos and hilarity ensues.

Hat tip to Print Magazine.

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