The Complete Comic Strips coverIn the 18th and 19th centuries, social change and newly available print technologies gave rise to caricatures of a new order. Ranging from moralizing to humorous content, they illustrated and critiqued everything from politics and religion to daily life to well-known tales and news. These captioned cartoons and illustrated stories paved the way for comic strips in newspapers, and then the serially released comic books of the 20th century.
William Hogarth’s Four Stages of Cruelty (1751) was an early example of sequential art that aimed to reform the evil ways of the English masses. Rudolph Toepffer, a Swiss artist working around 1830, could be considered the developer of modern comics in the West for the novel way he combined words and images to create continuous panels and strips depicting hilariously satirical narratives like Mr. Jabot. In the lead-up to the Mexican Revolution, José Guadalupe Posada became an expert of sharp political critique by featuring such images as a gaping dog-like monster on a theatre bill (c. 1900).
William Hogarth's Cruelty in PerfectionMeanwhile, in 19th century Japan, illustrated woodblock print books such as Hokusai Manga (1823), Inaka Genji (1830s) and Imayo sugata (1827) could be called the comics of their time in that they turned the classics upside-down and became widely popular among townspeople. Later, following quickly on the heels of the newly-established Meiji regime, Marumaru Chinbun, an illustrated humor weekly based on European models, wittily criticized both politics and modernization, while using modern technologies to do so.