Forward to next post: House, home, and demographic facts
I do believe this Japanese print, circa 1863, qualifies as the earliest known example of popular four-color narrative art featuring a bug-eyed monster, a menaced human, and a caption which more or less translates as Resistance Is Futile.
The print, by Kawanabe Kyf4sai, is part of the Images and Literary Sources section of the Library of Congress’s online exhibition of Ukiyo-e. The Images and Literary Sources section is the most fun, because it talks about the stories that go with the prints.
Here are a few more specimens from it: One of the 47 Faithful Ronin, from the story which we know (if we know it at all) as Chushingura. Another image from that cycle shows the backstage area after hours at a bunraku puppet theatre, where two of the puppet-antagonists are still going at each other. A favorite image of mine, one I’ve blogged before, imagines the famous heroes of the kabuki stage as frogs. And here’s an almost startlingly accomplished little drawing of Fukurokujo, the deity of longevity.
Have a look at the whole thing. It’s pleasant browsing on a hot day.