Magic Digest

Art & Culture Blog

FIRE ! ! ! The discovery of Christophe, a comic strip’s pioneer


This summer, I started to pay keen attention to antique shops, looking at displays, talking with the dealers. It is indeed (and evidently, although new to me) a great way of learning, discovering and of course dreaming. The alchemy of knowledge and passion are particularly acute in those places. Being currently literally forced to read endlessly about fire engines and firemen (very dry readings after a while), in an antique shop located in Trouville (Normandy) my attention was drawn to an old book featuring a very old French firefighter. The passionate little man, who is responsible for my extensive knowledge of firemen, fire stations, fire-fighting planes, fire extinguishers…- was particularly attracted to the beautiful red cover and the feather helmet.


We entered the antique shop, inquiring details of the book “Camember” …and learning that it was published in 1896 (a creative year). The author is Christophe (pseudonym of Georges Colomb, 1856-1945), one of France’s earliest and foremost cartoonists. Web-hopping about this author and the origins of comic strips, deepened my interest in the subject…The development of early bande dessinée, the interrelation of words  and images , the storytelling possibilities developed by early such experiments, the early premises of speech bubbles and gutters are fascinating indeed. Finally, after two weeks of walking by the shop, and a considerable price reduction,I bought Camember.

So Camember is mine, and I haven’t totally read it yet. It is supposed to be very witty and funny, but somehow I don’t get the humor …What is more interesting (and somehow magic) to me is possessing this beautiful and very red book. Now I own a “9th art” piece…

Here are some great resources I found online, if you wish to explore the subject:

A great blog by Philippe Willems, comics strip specialist and passionate professor

The integral digital version of Camember


★ Et en français…

Un article passionnant et très documenté sur l’invitation au voyage dans les premières bandes dessinées d’expression française par Camille Filliot

La bande-annonce d’un documentaire sur Christophe, réalisé par Dominique Garing et Jean-Baptiste Benoît, Production Vie des hauts


One comment on “FIRE ! ! ! The discovery of Christophe, a comic strip’s pioneer

  1. L'Ébouriffée
    August 28, 2014

    Well done ! Wise choice and good impulse… By the way, I am a huge fan of Christophe’s anémélectroreculpédalicoupeventombrosoparacloucycle 😉

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This entry was posted on August 28, 2014 by in Chroniques and tagged , , , , , , , .

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