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Marie Duval: The Victorian Cartoonist

Marie Duval

The Victorian Cartoonist

(1847–1890, London)

In Victorian England, satirical magazines like PUNCH and JUDY and FUN were all the rage. They were packed with silly illustrations and articles.

(Like this one by Marie Duval. SPOONS. Such a simple concept and yet so good!!)

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Marie was a leading cartoonist in the pages of JUDY magazine and elsewhere.

Through her comics, she lampooned Victorian fads and fashions.

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Marie loved to poke fun at the theater, too. She had been an actress once, but a horrible onstage accident (shot in the face AND gashed in the leg?!?!) brought her theater career to an end.

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But her greatest creation was a lovable British rogue named Ally Sloper.

Ally Sloper was the first recurring comic character ever created, and he was an instant icon—a “lazy schemer” folks couldn’t help but love.

Ally Sloper was co-created with Marie’s husband Charles H. Ross, but Marie is credited with drawing most of the comics.

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Marie’s unpolished sense of humor and whimsy were critical in building the world of Ally Sloper that appealed to so many.

“In contrast to the refined artistry of both male and female cartoonists of the time, Duval’s drawing style was rugged and full of slapstick humor.”

At the height of Ally Sloper’s popularity, the rights to the character were sold.

Ally Sloper’s image appeared on pocket watches, brass paperweights, cast iron doorstops and even a Milton Bradley game.

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