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The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr Punch Paperback – 16 Oct 2006

25 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (16 Oct. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747588449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747588443
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 0.8 x 29.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Neil Gaiman is a tour de force of creative talent. He is the bestselling author of Coraline and Stardust, both of which are major motion films. Neil also co-wrote the script for Beowulf starring Anthony Hopkins and Angeline Jolie. He is the creator/writer of the award-winning Sandman comic series and has written several books for children. His latest title, The Graveyard Book, won the Teenage Booktrust Prize 2009. Neil has been immortalised in song by Tori Amos, and is a songwriter himself. His official website now has more than one million unique visitors each month, and his online journal is syndicated to thousands of blog readers every day.

Product Description

About the Author

Neil Gaiman is world famous for his extraordinary stories told in graphic novel and traditional forms. He lives in the USA with his family. Dave McKean similarly is held in the highest regard as an artist and film maker. He lives in Kent, England with his family.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Feb. 2003
Format: Paperback
I have a vague recollection of watching a Punch and Judy show when I was very young. The only tangible memory is of Punch beating Judy - repeatedly. I don't remember the story or the other characters.
This book, "The Comical Tragedy or Tragical Comedy of Mr Punch" had the unnerving ability to bring trace memories back to vivid recollection. This, in itself, makes the book quite brilliant.
But, it is the art of Dave McKean with his juxtaposition of styles and elements that makes this book wonderfully macabre.
I switched on to McKean before Gaiman. His work on 'Arkham Asylum' transcended the constraints of the 'comic book' medium and, because of it, he has been accused of being inaccessible by some so-called 'comic book' purists.
Which isn't really surprising because McKean's influences owe much more to modern art and, in particular, the Dada movement of the early decades of the last century than to the Kirby school of thinking. But, this falls far short of defining McKean's art because his art is impossible to define.
And as a result his version of the Joker was, in my opinion, the best ever.
Dave McKean has given Mr Punch the same eerie sensibilities as he gave to the Joker. Just the right mixture of jest and malevolence to make a brutal story even more disturbing.
It's difficult to nail down precisely the intent of Mr Punch. It partly revolves around a young boy's growing awareness of evil in the world with Mr Punch as the catalyst but, as with McKean's art, it is impossible to define.
And because of this, it has to be read.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 July 1999
Format: Paperback
Neil Gaiman is my hero. I always have, and always will be intrigued by Punch & Judy. Therefore, Gaiman's Mr. Punch is one of the greatest works I've ever read. Though it is unfair to say "Gaiman's Mr. Punch", as it is equally Dave McKean's, for without him, I'm sure Mr. Punch would lose part of its eerie, strange, subtle power. Mr. Punch is an odd book. I read it in a single sitting, and afterwards, I was actually at a loss for words trying to describe what it is. This was a first; I can praise Neil Gaiman for hours on end, but I was stuck with Mr. Punch. I've seen it classified as Horror, Science Fiction, normal Fiction, and just as a Comic. But it is much more. It sent something through me - something that I am also at a loss of words about. This is a really great story, much like a dream (or nightmare, depending) it is surreal, yet uncommonly realistic; it is disturbing, but also soothing. It's more of an experience than a reading. McKean's artwork and Gaiman's words send you into something of a trance, where you enjoy yourself, get disturbed (actually, more troubled, as the young protangonist would say), and subtly reminded of your own childhood. A must read for any Gaiman or McKean fan, and also a must read for any Punch & Judy enthusiast, or anyone looking for a great read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 May 1996
Format: Paperback
The artwork is in the mood of looking through an old attic closet in the neighborhood's junk dealers house after he dies.
It has the feeling of touching a piece of the past that you may
or may not have ever been in contact with. The story is as innocent as a child and as guilty as a scary clown. I liked it very much.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By 365 Graphic Novels on 17 April 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a part remembered, part imagined childhood memory. It beautifully illustrates the fog of youth created by the uncertainty of recollection and the mystery of adults. There is something important and possibly tragic going on in the world of grown-ups yet the small boy who witnesses it won't comprehend what he sees until he grows up.

The accompanying art does not seek to illustrate the tale faithfully but evoke the spirit of a childhood remembered long after the fact. There are photographs, collages, drawings, models and script all smeared into a fantastic reminiscence of the past.

This does a great job of portraying how memory works. How small details dominate events and become larger than life. And also how much of the real world is retained unconsciously as a child only to be deciphered in later years.

Thumbs Up!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
A Romance is a misleading explanation of this book. It features the talents of both Neil Gaiman and the artistic skills of Dave McKean. The story focus' on a characters memories of childhood. Particularily his memories of the Punch and Judy shows which placed fear within his heart. The illustrations are fantastic and the comic style that the whole book enroles in is typical to many of their other colaborations. An excellent book, start a collection!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Dec. 1998
Format: Paperback
Mr. Punch is a difficult piece to review. It may be Neil Gaiman's finest work, but it is certainly his darkest. It is hard to describe the plot of Mr. Punch without giving anything away; suffice to say it is not the kind of work you would expect in a comic, and not what you would simply be able to put down and go on with your life once you have finished.
Dave McKean's always innovative artwork enhances the nightmarish quality of the piece, and Neil Gaiman's prose is captivating as always. Mr. Punch is at the very least worth a read, and will likely find itself on your bookshelf next to all the other books that quietly changed the way you look at things.
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