Slopaire! Que-est-ce que c'est que ca?
April 9, 2016 6:16 AM   Subscribe

Marie Duval was one of the most unusual, pioneering and boisterous cartoonists of the nineteenth century. As a groundbreaking female cartoonist depicting a long-overlooked urban, often working-class milieu, the wide range and quantity of her work has been forgotten. A new website showcases her work for the comic magazine Judy, including her most famous creation, the working-class anti-hero Ally Sloper, 'the first comics superstar'.

David Kunzle shows how Duval's work was misattributed to her husband, and discusses some of her innovative graphic effects: 'vibrating contours to express fear; multiplication of limbs to suggest oscillation of parts; effects of shriveling up, exploding, discombobulation, twisting, unraveling, melting of form .. visual distortions, partial views and bizarre frame cutoffs'.

More samples of the Ally Sloper drawings. Wikipedia.

The critic Jonathan Jones praises Duval as 'one of the forgotten wonders of nineteenth-century art .. the bizarre dreamlike distortions of her comic world look like some steampunk 21st-century version of Victorian London'.
posted by verstegan (4 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
Very cool! And timely for me as I will be teaching a summer course on concept art and comic for illustration students. Thanks!
posted by Slothrop at 7:06 AM on April 9, 2016

Excellent post, thanks! A quibble:

David Kunzle shows how Duval's work was misattributed to her husband

Yes, that was the case, but it was also the case that her husband, Charles Henry Ross, created and began drawing the character, even though Isabelle Émilie de Tessier (aka Marie Duval) took it over and did the cartoons that made the character famous. Credit where credit is due!
posted by languagehat at 7:13 AM on April 9, 2016

These are amazing. Some of the later ones from the first link put me in mind of Basil Wolverton.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:37 AM on April 9, 2016

Ally Sloper really should be better known, but he doesn't seem to translate out of his own era.
posted by Segundus at 1:30 PM on April 9, 2016

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