Since I’ve been recently meditating on the connection between Picasso and comics and fine art and comics in general, and just having posted on Hokusai, I was reminded that Hokusai himself did a book of Manga (the contemporary name for Japanese comics)
I’ll briefly quote from Wikipedia:
In 1811, at the age of 51, Hokusai changed his name to Taito and entered the period in which he created the Hokusai Manga and various etehon, or art manuals. These etehon, beginning in 1812 with Quick Lessons in Simplified Drawing, served as a convenient way to make money and attract more students. The first book of Hokusai’s manga, sketches or caricatures that influenced the modern form of comics known by the same name, was published in 1814. Together, his 12 volumes published before 1820 and three more published posthumously include thousands of drawings of animals, religious figures, and everyday people. They often have humorous overtones and were very popular at the time.
I’ve seen a recent publication of Hokusai’s manga drawings and they’re indeed marvelous. Here it is on Amazon, published in 2007, well worth the price:
So now we have comics dating from the early 1800s…
of course, comics scholars will point us back to Trajan’s column, Mayan hieroglyphs and such like.