Among the many accomplishments in art and literature by Genevan Rodolphe Töpffer (1799-1846), his virtual invention of the comic strip, or graphic novel, stands out as the most surprising, curious, and to us, after a century inundated by comic strips, by far the most significant.
This volume is the first English-language version of the Töpffer comics oeuvre and includes (unlike previous French and German editions) all of his eight full-length stories, plus previously unpublished fragments of stories started and abandoned and manuscript segments omitted in the printed versions. Comics scholar Kunzle translates the captions from the French, gives essential biography and chronology, and appends socio-political contexts for all the stories with explanation of references obscure today. He deals with questions of dating and the differences among manuscript, printed version, and the various editions. He also lists the plagiaries, translations, and adaptations in other media.
Töpffer's complete comic strip output, combined with Kunzle's annotative material and analyses, makes this volume one of the most significant works of comics history to be published and reestablishes Töpffer's seminal place in the comics canon.
David Kunzle is author of From Criminal to Courtier: The Soldier in Netherlandish Art, 1550-1670
and Decade of Protest: Political Posters from the United States, Vietnam, and Cuba, 1965-1975