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Brother Jonathan Extra (1842) - Newspaper pull-out
"The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck"
Wilson & Company

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Rodolphe Töpffer

Rodolphe Töpffer

Rodolphe Töpffer

(Unknown Creator)

(Unknown Creator)

Cover Artist(s):
Robert Cruikshank

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Cover Date: September 14 1842
Cover Price: Free

Issue Tagline: None.

Format: Color; Magazine

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Translated from the French Histoire de M. Vieux Bois (lit. The Story of Mr. Wooden Head), with probable translation by Robert Cruikshank.

Oldbuck falls instantly in love with an apparently overweight, ordinary woman. He attempts many different avenues to her heart but is rebuffed at every amusing step. Eventually, after having attempted four separate instances of amusingly failed suicide, being involved in a honorable duel over her, being robbed by highwaymen, joining a monastery, escaping the monestary in drag, and losing his eye, she begins to return his affection. But the monks from which he escaped have other plans. They throw him in jail, pursue him and his now-bride-to-be across the countryside and even force him to forcibly drown one of their order.

Finally free of the monks, he decides, perhaps unwisely, to have a church wedding. Thinking better of his decision, he returns home to place a dog in front of his home as a guard--just in case agents of the church decide to exact revenge. Unfortunately, this precautionary measure makes him late for his wedding and the in-laws call off the wedding. Again he attempts to kill himself. Again, he fails, but faints. Mistaken for dead, he is buried, again with the "help" of the church. Crows picking at his feet wake him up, and he continues a series of similar misadventures--generally in opposition to ecclesiastical enemies--until he is on the last page, finally wed.

Generally agreed upon as the first English language comic book.

The format of the book is intriguing, in that it uses the original British plates from 1841, but re-orients them in what we would today call "portrait" format. That is to say that the very first American printing of the book put it into an orientation we would find common in the modern comics industry. Its size was apparently "British oblong 8vo", or a relatively familiar 9" X 6" format.

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