MUST READ LINK! The Forbidden Planet International Blog presents a talk by comics scholar Paul Gravett on the language of comics. Gravett starts out with Goethe and Toepffer, and from there it gets rather intellectual.
At the time Goethe was really excited about this new kind of storytelling; the artist, the creator of this early graphic novel was a chap called Rodolphe Toepffer who lived in Geneva and he was a teacher – quite a respected teacher of teenage pupils – and he was realising he couldn’t particularly draw that brilliantly and he couldn’t write that brilliantly, but if he put the two together he could do something special, something that was perhaps different and better from either of the two sepreate parts, but at the time, 1827, he got a very positive response: Goethe actually said with a better storyline, a stronger storyline there’s not limit to what could come out of this new artform. Goethe was very, very positive and encouraged him to publish this book which was in only sketch form and not in print.