Hilary's Reviews > The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch

The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch by Neil Gaiman
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's review
May 27, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: 2012, fantasy, fiction, graphic-novel, short-stories
Read in May, 2012

I heard about this graphic novel in the "On the Ledge" column in the back of an issue of Grant Morrison's The Invisibles though the precise issue I don't recall. The pairing of Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean is one that I adore - Mirrormask was particularly good - and I was intrigued by the concept more than I would care to admit. I didn't grow up on Punch and Judy, but I knew enough about it from cartoons to get the general idea.

The story is incredibly dark, as "On the Ledge" warned. The story is rife with the confusion present in childhood, the slow realization that life is rife with sex, death, and violence. Family secrets are unveiled before the backdrop of the classic plot of the Punch and Judy show. Everyone dies but Punch in the shows, and the figure of the Punch and Judy Professor likewise seems omnipresent in a strange way.

I really enjoyed this book. I would be hard-pressed to explain exactly what it is about the writing, but it evokes the same sort of feelings in me that the opening pages of Horse's Neck do. There is a certain ethereal quality that author's bring, and in this it is present in force.. coupled with the illustrations, it is nearly overwhelming.

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