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Rodolphe Töpffer

Monsieur Vieuxbois (1839)
Monsieur Vieuxbois meets the girl, falls head over heels in love (not reciprocated), mopes, tries suicide which fails, tries to win her over again, which fails, tries suicide again, which not only fails but turns the whole town topsy turvy.

Monsieur Vieuxbois in drag! That's him on the left. Before that, he buys and is thrown from a horse, fights a duell, asks for the girl's hand, jumps for joy for hours, get thrown in the slammer for disturbing the peace, engagement is off, another failed suicide, gets robbed, becomes a monk, changes his mind and escapes the convent in drag, is picked up by a chap wearing his clothes, has a date with him, and 'afterwards' takes his clothes back. Phew.

Comics historian Thierry Smolderen (Coconino website) found an interesting connection between a famous Cruikshank illustration and a panel from Vieuxbois.
Have a look.



Monsieur Trictrac (1831)
This is an unfinished story left in a sketchbook, which was apparently stolen from him, and only had a few limited reprints. I hope you can read the scribbly writing...

I found a curious connection with a Dutch childrens book called 'De Neef van Prikkebeen' which was the sequel to the Dutch version of Cryptogramme, the children's classic 'Prikkebeen'. Nothing curious about making a sequel to a popular book, but look at these two panels that are so similar to a page from Trictrac. And Trictrac was only published after this Prikkebeen sequel.




Monsieur Vieuxbois Pirate copy (1839) & Comparison with American Version from 1842
Here are 15 scans from a lousy pirate copy (you can compare all the images with the original above). What makes this one especially interesting is that it was used to make another copy in English, resulting in a US version in 1842, arguably the first American comicbook.




Monsieur Cryptogramme by Cham (1845)
The first taste of Toepffer that a really large public got was via the woodcut version that the artist Cham made of Monsieur Cryptogramme...











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