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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Comics studies has taken a comparative turn to global culture, which challenges claims in favor of Richard F. Outcault, Rodolphe Töpffer, or William Hogarth as the originators of comics. The synthesis for each claim is founded in the proliferation of image and text in the printing press. The printing press standardized visual tropes such as the panel-strip convention which is fundamental to comics. Examples of the panel-strip convention are found in the early period of print, where it might have begun as a side effect of intaglio printing. Alongside the panel-strip convention are several alternative conventions for organizing sequential images: processions, curtains, staircases, calendars, wheels, and decks. Each possesses affordances not found in the panel-strip convention. Furthermore, these conventions represent the way that visual metaphors were used to scaffold meaning, a method virtually erased by Hogarth. Rather than being an early artist of sequential images, Hogarth radically simplified an existing tradition that included direct predecessors to Rake’s Progress.

Keywords: comics history, early modern England, Renaissance England, book history, printing press, William Hogarth, Rake’s Progress, Edmund Spenser, Shepheardes Calender

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