Review Article

Simon Grennan, Roger Sabin and Julian Waite, Marie Duval (Oxford: Myriad Editions, 2018)

in European Comic Art
David KunzleUniversity of California Los Angeles

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With Marie Duval, virtual creator of the ineffable Ally Sloper (first appearance 1867) and mainstay of a new magazine named Judy founded that year, we find a new kind of cartoon character, a new kind of caricature and a new kind of journal aiming, unlike Punch, at a female and lower-class audience. The moment was propitious: after two decades of national prosperity during which the GNP almost doubled, the demand (a push from below) was felt for some cultural irreverence and novelty. Maybe the 1850s and 1860s were the first ‘Age of Leisure’ rather than the succeeding one, that of Duval, proposed by the authors here (7); the later age, of Duval, was that of increased and lower-class leisure, for sure. This caricaturist and artist is a quite recent discovery: before the late 1980s and 1990, she was virtually unknown. She was Europe's first female professional exponent of caricature (as distinct from a few sisters in conventional cartooning), and her initials and name took credit for the long-term development of an extraordinary artistic property, which quickly became a new sociological phenomenon: a dissolute trickster called Ally Sloper. He attained wild popularity in the 1870s and 1880s, and beyond. He was the first of many British comic characters to become a household name, and the first such comic character to be widely commercialised.

Contributor Notes

David Kunzle was Professor of Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles, from 1976 until his 2009 retirement. A prolific author and one of the founding fathers of contemporary comics scholarship, he has written articles and books on a diverse range of topics, many of them pertaining to popular, political and public art, including From Criminal to Courtier: The Soldier in Netherlandish Art 1550–1670 (2002) and an updated edition of Fashion and Fetishism, a Social History of the Corset, Tight-Lacing, and Other Forms of Body Sculpture in the West (2002). His most recent work is a large volume on Cham. Email:

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