Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr Punch - Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean

This is another alternative I am adding to my challenge list as it was really good and I wanted to share it!

The tale follows a grown man as he looks back and remembers his childhood and various family members who are no longer alive. He remembers his grandfather who sold his grocery business and opening an amusement arcade in the town. It has a mermaid (a lady in a costume and wig who sings on a rock), a ghost train, hall of mirrors and a Punch and Judy show. Sadly no one comes to it as it is not on the main pier and even when it is raining the people stay away so sadly it has to close.

It looks at the story of Punch and Judy as well as a couple of characters no longer in the show like Punch's girlfriend. I had forgotten how grim the tale is. Punch starts by throwing the baby out of the window and then beating Judt to death when she shouts at him. He then beats the polieman to death who tries to arrest him, a physician, a crocodile, a hangman (he tricks him into the hangmans noose in his place) and finally the devil himself. At the end Punch is happy as everyone is now free to do what they want with the devil having been killed. The adult narrating the story remembers how he was frigtened of the tale as a child and it is easy to see why.

It is also a look at the innocence and naivety of childhood. There is a secret past concerning his grandfather that he never picked up on as a child as well as an unexplained tale about his uncle. There are various references throughout the story saying that he now thinks differently. It did enjoy this graphic novel with the range of different illustrations by Dave McKean. A dark trip back down memory lane.

1 comment:

Madeleine said...

In France, Europe in general, graphic novels are the rage, everyone who loves to read keeps them on their to be read list. I have a difficult time finding them here, the library does not carry them at all and the book store doesn't know what I am speaking of and send me to the children's books.
Thank-you for the correct name and I will be looking and force ;)) them to order them for me, it's been a long time since I read one.