Marie Duval, Maverick Victorian Cartoonist, reassessed and rediscovered

Marie Duval: Maverick Victorian Cartoonist

Manchester University Press has just published Marie Duval: Maverick Victorian Cartoonist by Simon Grennan, Roger Sabin and Julian Waite. It’s the first critical appraisal of the work of Marie Duval (Isabella Tessier, UK, 1847 – 1890), one of the most unusual, pioneering and visionary cartoonists of the nineteenth century.

Duval’s cartoons, strips and illustrations revolutionised print comedy. Her London characters became a mainstay of Judy magazine, a rival to Punch, and introduced its middle-class readers to a lower-class milieu – domestic servants who get the better of their masters, street urchins who terrorise the elderly, clowns who are miserably unfunny. The most famous character was Ally Sloper, a boozy ne-er do well, always in trouble with the police, the landlord, and his wife – developed by Duval into nothing less than a national hero.

An academic work, the book discusses key themes of Duval’s vision and production, relative to wider historic, social, cultural and economic environments. It identifies her as an exemplary radical practitioner, especially significant for importing ideas from the stage to the page, and for confounding gender expectations. She emerges as a key figure in the new congruence between performance, illustration, narrative drawing and novels.

Marie Duval: Maverick Victorian Cartoonist is a journey of rediscovery, sourced from an unprecedented range of primary sources and bringing together the fields of Comics Studies, Theatre Studies, Comedy Studies, Periodical Studies and Women’s Studies. It aims to restore the maverick Duval to her rightful place in history.

The book is written by Simon Grennan, Leading Research Fellow at the University of Chester, Roger Sabin, Professor of Popular Culture at the University of the Arts London, and Julian Waite, an independent scholar and former Senior Lecturer in Performing Arts and Programme Leader MA Drama at the University of Chester.

Marie Duval: Maverick Victorian Cartoonist by Simon Grennan, Roger Sabin and Julian Waite is available here from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link) | Published by Manchester University Press ISBN 978-1-5261-3356-4

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.

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