Skip to main content

Töpffer, Rodolphe

Rodolphe Töpffer (rôdôlf´ töp´fər), 1799–1846, Swiss artist and writer, b. Geneva. Often called the father of the comic strip (or the graphic novel), he wanted to be a painter but found it impossible due to bad eyesight. Beginning in 1827, he developed a style of enclosed cartoons with related captions beneath, the first such combination in Europe. His illustrations of spindly figures created with a thin, nervous line mix wild slapstick humor with social satire. Töpffer's seven picture stories of Swiss life became enormously popular and were imitated throughout Europe and the United States. He also was a journalist, professor, art critic, and short-story writer, and his travelogues of fanciful voyages through the Alps, e.g., Voyages en zigzag (1844), were popular.

See his complete comic strips (tr. by D. Kunzle, 2007); study by D. Kunzle (2007).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Töpffer, Rodolphe." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . 20 Sep. 2019 <>.

"Töpffer, Rodolphe." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (September 20, 2019).

"Töpffer, Rodolphe." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved September 20, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.