An occasional series.
The first comic strip was by Rudolphe Töpffer. (Jan 31st 1799 - June 8th 1846)
Comic strip here defined as an illustrated narrative using sequential drawings and text.
Found no examples of Töpffer using speech balloons.
Writers in both Britain and the USA have made claims for their own nations innovators. It is possible the Japanese also have an argument with the first recorded use of the word 'manga' dating from the 1770's.