Victorian Comics Reading Guide

Comics from Special & Area Studies Collections, Smathers Libraries, University of Florida ( Related URL )

Material Information

Victorian Comics Reading Guide
Physical Description:
Mixed Material
Taylor, Laurie N.
University of Florida Libraries
Publication Date:

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:

The author dedicated the work to the Commons by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law and all related or neighboring legal rights he or she had in the work, to the extent allowable by law.
Resource Identifier:
System ID:

This item has the following downloads:

Full Text

Victorian Age Comics

Victorian Age Comics

European comic strips and books developed out of an existing tradition of caricature and
illustration. This tradition includes the many Victorian Age (1837-1901) comic magazines Le
Charivari, Punch, Fun, The Comic Almanack, and many others. Many of these magazines shared
writers and illustrators, as the writings and the creators were all part of the rich multimedia
community of writings, illustrations, and their creators.

Fun, dubbed Funch by some readers, was a contemporary to Punch and provides useful
commentary on the significance of Punch and comic magazines in Victorian England and in times
since. As a comic magazine modeled on Punch, Fun used an image and text combination for
form and included many types of creative, playful, and critical writing often in the form of parody,
verse, writings on political and literary, and cultural criticism. Fun also maintained the parallel with
Punch through the use of a mascot, with Fun's jester Mr. Fun and his cat as Fun's mascot and
Punch's Mr. Punch and his dog Toby as Punch's mascot. Fun began in 1861 and was more
closely related to theater than Punch throughout its publication.

Fun is important as independent artifact as well as for comparative studies with Punch in
analyses of particular topics. Because Fun is closely related to theater, researchers using the
Performing Arts Digital Collection may find Fun particularly relevant.

Notable Contributors to Fun
Henry J. Byron (1835-1884) was the founding editor of Fun, actor, playwright, and
theater manager.
Tom Hood (1835-1874) was a writer, playwright, novelist, and the editor of Fun after
Byron. He was also the son of poet Thomas Hood, who was the first contributor to Punch.
Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (1836-1911), a playwright, director, writer, and illustrator,
best known for his comic operas produced with Sir Arthur Sullivan, commonly referred to
as "Gilbert and Sullivan" and including The Pirates of Penzance and many others.
Ambrose Bierce (1842-c1914) wrote as a novelist, poet, and journalist under his name
and under the pseudonym Dod Grile. His prolific writing includes writing for Fun as well
writing many short stories, news stories, poems, and novels, including:
The Devil's Dictionary (1906)
Tales of Soldiers and Civilians. New York: Lovell, Coryell & Company, 1891.
Fantastic Fables: fables
Cobwebs: Being the Fables of Zambri, the Parsee: being of Parsee
The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce: works Bierce 2
Clement Scott (1841-1904) was a theater critic, playwright, and travel writer, as well as a
contributor to Fun. His papers are in the Rochester University Library.
H. Savile Clarke (1841-1893) contributed to both Fun and Punch and created the book
and lyrics for the theatrical musical Alice in Wonderland, which opened at the Prince of
Wales Theatre in London in 1886. H. Savile Clarke was married to Clara Savile Clarke,
author of The Poet's Audience and The World's Pleasures. H. Savile Clarke's
contributions were often verse on medical and scientific subjects, and many are also
available in The Doctor's Window: Poems by the Doctor, For the Doctor and About the
Doctor (edited by Ina Russelle Warren, Buffalo, NY: Charles Wells Moulton, 1898; AAAIAAJ).

Victorian Age Comics

T. W. (Thomas William) Robertson (1829-1871) was a playwright and stage director
most famous for his innovative work in realism-creating plays that deal with
contemporary problems and issues.
Sir Francis Cowley Burnard (1836-1917) wrote plays, operas, books, contributing to
Fun, and serving as an editor of Punch from 1880 to 1906.

The Comic Almanack

The Comic Almanack was another satirical periodical like Fun and Punch. The Comic Almanack
is of particular interest because it includes illustrations by George Cruikshank (a prolific illustrator
and caricaturist who created over 15,000 etchings and engravings) and texts by William
Thackeray and other important literary figures.

The "Preliminary" to The Comic Almanack for 1835 notes that writers for it included:
William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863)
Albert Smith (1816-1860)
The Brothers Mayhew: Henry Mayhew (1812-1887) and Horace Mayhew (1816-1872)
Gilbert Abbott Beckett (1811-1856)
John Camden Hotten (1832-1873)
George Cruikshank (1792-1878)
In addition to his caricatures in The Comic Almanack, Cruikshank also worked with
Charles Dickens and illustrated Oliver Twist and Sketches by Boz, created political prints
and caricatures that ran alone and in various other publications, and illustrated children's
books, many of which are available online in the Baldwin Library of Children's Literature
Digital Collection:

References & Further Reading
Because Fun, The Comic Almanack, Punch, and other comic and news writings of the time
shared so many of the same writers and illustrators, many resources on one of the publications or
authors also informs the others.

Spielmann, Marion Harry. The History of "Punch." London: Cassell, 1895.
Mayhew, Athol. A Jorum of "Punch" with Those who Helped to Brew it: Being the Early
History of "The London Charivari." London: Downey & co., 1895. [Online:]
Sullivan, Alvin. British Literary Magazines: The Victorian and Edwardian Age, 1837-1913.
London: Greenwood Press, 1984.
Starrett, Vincent. Ambrose Bierce. Chicago: Walter M. Hill, 1920. [Online:]
Punch: http://www.qutenbera.ora/wiki/Punch %28Bookshelf%/29