Sunday, June 13, 2010

French Comic Book From 1844/1856

Robert Beerbohm is currently selling a French comic book from 1844 called The History of Mr. Tuberculus by Lobrichon. I think it's worth noting primarily because so many comic fans think the history of comic books starts with Famous Funnies in 1933 with perhaps an occasional nod to the first appearance of the Yellow Kid in 1894. But this book dates considerably earlier, obviously, and bears most of the hallmarks commonly attributed to comics. (Perhaps the only one missing, in fact, is the word balloon which certainly isn't a requirement to be considered comics.)

Anyway, Beerbohm posted a few images from the 68-page book he's selling, which I'm reproducing below with rough translations.

The History of Mr. Tuberculus by Lobrichon

He was named a corresponding member of the Clysomanie Company. And he had a brilliant marriage.

But he falls into the water; fortunately nature has provided for everything. He contracted the bad habit of poking his nose into everything.

He started to worry about the consequences of his stupidity. He makes a resolution to change his life and adopt the latest fashion.

He gives up and goes in search of a new world. But he is stopped by the rain.

However, to be careful, he returned to change down. And pick up a handkerchief.

The young Tuberculus indulges in the pleasure of the hunt, but he feels bored to some embarrassment. The fishing seems to him most advantageous.

And it shows the path of your glory. But the young Tuberculus discovers that it is easier to descend than to ascend.

Moral: He who puts a stop to the fury of sparrows, also knows how parents entertain kids.

There is record of a Timoléon Marie Lobrichon being born in Cornod, France on April 26, 1831. He received his formal training at the Beaux-Arts Academie with François Edouard Picot (1786-1868) and his gallery debut was at the Paris Salon of 1859.

Lobrichon became one of the most sought after and celebrated painters for portraits of children. He was able to capture the character and personality of each child. This gift carried over to all his portraiture; rather than being just a portrait, Lobrichon created a story which involved the character’s personality. In 1884, he illustrated the very popular book The Song of A Child by Jean Aicard.

All of this would suggest that Lobrichon was only 13 when he created The History of Mr. Tuberculus. I've also seen an 1856 date attributed to this same book, which seems more plausible if this is indeed the same Lobrichon. I can't find record of any of Lobrichon's relatives who had any artistic talent and the artist's penchant for children's portraiture and illustrated books suggests that we're only discussing one man. And 1856 publication date for Mr. Tuberculus would've made Lobrichon 25 at the time, which seems to me more likely.

In any event, the Mr. Tuberculus comic is a wonderful treasure and I would love to see the full thing scanned and placed online for the historical record. Because I know I sure as heck can't afford to buy it myself!

2 comments:

BeerbohmRL@gmail.com said...

Hi Sean

You be correct. I mis-typed my description in my eBay store for this. Histoire De Mr Tuberculus by Lobrichon is indeed 1856, and not 1844. I am changing the date to reflect historical reality. I should have proof read before I posted it for sale. And I might very well soon find the time to scan all the pages. Thanks for the heads up to my inadvertent error

best,
Robert Beerbohm
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Sean Kleefeld said...

Glad I could help, Robert. You had mentioned that you'd been talking to real comic historians about it, but since I couldn't find much info about Lobrichon in the first place, I figured it just wouldn't be surprising that some of the info floating out there contradicted itself. :)