Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Now available for the first time in the U.S., Best of Punch Cartoons, edited by Helen Walasek, is a magnificent tribute to Punch, the English magazine of humor and satire that ran from 1841 until its closure in 2002. A very British institution with an international reputation for its witty and irreverent take on the world, it published the work of some of the greatest comic writers (Thackeray, P G Wodehouse and P J O’Rourke among others) and gave us the cartoon as we know it today. Its political cartoons swayed governments while its social cartoons captured life in the 19th and 20th centuries. Fans of The New Yorker may carp, but the fact remains that Punch gave us the cartoon as we know it today the word cartoon became associated with pictorial satire and eventually any humorous drawing due to a grim joke in an 1843 issue of the magazine.

Punch has published work by a staggering array of artists and illustrators, from John Tenniel and E. H. Shepard respectively the original illustrators of Alice in Wonderland and Winnie-the-Pooh to artists such as H. M. Bateman, William Thackery, Ronald Searle, Quentin Blake, Norman Thelwell, Tom Cheney, and William Haefeli. This brilliant volume has been lovingly produced it is the biggest and best collection of Punch cartoons ever created. The Best of Punch Cartoons is packed with magnificent one-liners and extended tropes, and beautiful artwork by some of the finest cartoonists and illustrators of the past two centuries.

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