The European, American, and Japanese comics traditions have followed different paths.
Europeans have seen their tradition as beginning with the Swiss Rodolphe Töpffer from as early as 1827 and Americans have seen the origin of theirs in Richard F. Outcault's 1890s newspaper strip The Yellow Kid, though many Americans have come to recognize Töpffer's precedence. Japan had a long prehistory of satirical cartoons and comics leading up to the World War II era.
The ukiyo-e artist Hokusai popularized the Japanese term for comics and cartooning, manga, in the early 19th century. In the post-war era modern Japanese comics began to flourish when Osamu Tezuka produced a prolific body of work. Towards the close of the 20th century, these three traditions converged in a trend towards book-length comics: the comic album in Europe, the tankōbon in Japan, and the graphic novel in the English-speaking countries.