A Swiss artist and teacher, Rudolf Töpffer (1799–1846), started to create "picture novels" in 1827. He reproduced his stories by means of lithography and first published them in France. And it happened the way it always does: Good stuff gets copied. Aside from the original prints a number of pirated versions and rip-offs of his work circulated. Well, what is bad for the artist is not necessarily bad for the "cause" and so one of the pirated prints found its way to Britain in 1841 under the name of "Les Amours de M. Vieux Bois" where it got translated and published in English right away. It "travelled" to America and Wilson & Co. New York published it under the title "The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck" in September 1842 as the first "sequential comic book" in the US. Töpffer’s 40 page story, made of 195 pictures, came out in a special edition of "Brother Jonathan" a well known magazine of the time. And so it happened that the birth of the American comic book is really because of a Swissman. Töpffer created seven more sequentials of which two were also translated and published in English. "Histoire de M. Jabot" aka "Beau Ogleby" (Tilt & Bogue, ca. 1843) and "Histoire de M. Cryptogame" aka "Bachelor Butterfly" (Tilt & Bogue, 1943 und Wilson & Company, 1846).
Source: Dartmouth.edu has a great collection of the complete Obadiah Oldbuck (http://www.dartmouth.edu/~library/rauner/)