Robert Mankoff
Released: August, 2004

Now this is required reading! 68,647 cartoons collected together in one book and on 2 CD's. The book itself is a hefty tome, weighing about 10 pounds and containing 2000 cartoons over 655 pages – not really suitable for a train journey but just the ticket for some leisurely browsing with a glass of wine and a reinforced table (did I mention it's heavy?) The rest of the cartoons are found on the 2 CD's – the first covering 1925 to 1964 and the second 1965 – 2004. They require Adobe Reader and are easy to navigate. The menu is broken down into decades and individual years, and there's also a comprehensive search facility that lets you look up by artist, date, and keyword.

The reproduction quality of the cartoons on the CD's may not be on a par with the book but they are still perfectly acceptable and can be zoomed in and out for greater clarity.

As for the cartoons themselves, amid all the work by Charles Addams, Barsotti, Gahan Wilson as well as younger talent like Matthew Diffee, it's interesting to see the trends and themes that permeate each decade and how humour can change over time. What was funny in the 30's may be less so now, and there are a fair share of gags that left me scratching my head, but that still leaves about 60,000 gags that make me laugh out loud (while muttering 'wish I'd thought of that!')

And what more could you ask for? Except maybe a reinforced table. have this excellent book available from around £25 (including free delivery – see link at the top of this review) and it really is worth getting!

Tim Harries

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