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CHAM The Best Comic Strips and Graphic Novelettes 1839-1862

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CHAM The Best Comic Strips and Graphic Novelettes 1839-1862

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A massive eight pound, oversized volume. Recommended. By David Kunzle. Cham, real name Count Amédée de Noé, a serious rival to Daumier, is a célèbre inconnu, a famous unknown. Two caricaturists dominated the emerging field of the French comic strip from the 1830s onward: Rodolphe Töpffer and the Parisian Cham. The undisputed father of the modern comic strip or graphic novel, Töpffer denigrated his “little follies,” as he called them. Cham, by contrast, quickly became a dominant figure in the French premier magazine of graphic satire, Le Charivari. He engaged full-time in all the major caricature formats then practiced, creating 40 comic strips or graphic novelettes, published in albums and magazine installments.

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Cham, real name Count Amédée de Noé, a serious rival to Daumier, is a célèbre inconnu, a famous unknown. Two caricaturists dominated the emerging field of the French comic strip from the 1830s onward: Rodolphe Töpffer and the Parisian Cham. The undisputed father of the modern comic strip or graphic novel, Töpffer denigrated his “little follies,” as he called them. Cham, by contrast, quickly became a dominant figure in the French premier magazine of graphic satire, Le Charivari. He engaged full-time in all the major caricature formats then practiced, creating 40 comic strips or graphic novelettes, published in albums and magazine installments.

He is much deserving, at last, of this first account of his huge oeuvre as a caricaturist. This book concentrates on his mastery of the important new field of caricature, which we now call a comic strip, picture story, and graphic novel. The volume features facsimiles of nearly twenty of these from 1839 to 1863, ranging from one page to forty (this last a parody of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables). In addition, summaries and sample illustrations of twenty-seven "minor works" demonstrate that Cham is by far the most important specialist of what was then a new genre in Europe.

Born to an ancient aristocratic family, Cham was from an early age wholly dedicated to an art considered far beneath his class. Starting as a disciple of the father of the modern comic strip, the Swiss Rodolphe Töpffer, Cham soon launched out on his own, evolving an original form of comedy, his own comédie humaine, farcical, absurd, and parodic. His productivity was legendary and comprised all the known genres of caricature, the full-page cartoon lithograph, the thematic seasonal group, weekly and monthly humorous comment (much like the daily newspaper cartoonist today), and a feature called the Revue Comique, which made him the supreme graphic journalist of his day.

Hitherto unknown correspondence reveals an attractive personality who was fond of animals and who honored a lower-class woman he eventually made his countess. Vaunted comics scholar David Kunzle has created a fitting tribute to Cham's impact and genius.

David Kunzle, Los Angeles, California, professor emeritus of art history at the University of California, is author of Father of the Comic Strip: Rodolphe Töpffer; Gustave Doré: Twelve Comic Strips; and Rodolphe Töpffer: The Complete Comic Strips, all published by University Press of Mississippi.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Item Code CHAMH
Publisher University of Mississippi Press
Publish Date 2019
ISBN 9781496816184
Binding Hard Cover - No Dustjacket
Dimensions 10x14
# Pages 566pg
Color Text/Partial Color
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