The Comics Digital Collection is slowly building, and the scans of the Imagerie d’Epinal broadsheets will soon be online. While they’re still processing, they’re also online within Picasa so that others can see them even if only the smaller versions. It’s great to have rare materials added online so that others can use them and it’s even better knowing that these are only some of the many materials being added.
These pictorial broadsheets known as the Imagerie d’Epinal sheets told simple tales and were made by the Imagerie Pellerin of France, and then reprinted by the Humoristic Publishing Co. in Kansas, Missouri. These are the reprints and are important for the history of comics and printing. In Father of the Comic Strip: Rodolphe Töpffer, David Kunzle compares Töpffer’s “kind of graphic naïvete and that of the truly unschooled and awkward Imagerie d’Epinal” (77). Kunzle argues “the subsequent history of the comic strip occupies this middle groudm but inclining more to Töpffer than imagerie populaire” (77). Kunzle’s overall analysis places Töpffer alongside the likes of Gustave Doré, William Hogarth, Willhelm Busch, and George Cruikshank in publications like Punch, Le Charivari, L’Illustration, and Illustrated London News.
References: Kunzle, David. Father of the Comic Strip: Rodolphe Töpffer. Jackson, MS: UP of MS, 2007.