Ross Cartoons

By Ross ThomsonA cartoon of Mount Rushmore, where a giant carved hand is holding up a stone camera to photograph the tourists
Publisher: Shaggydoggs Publishing
ISBN: 9798507510726

I’ve often mentioned that there just aren’t enough cartoon collections made available any more, so I was extremely pleased to come across this one by Ross Thomson.

It’s a collection of 101 of the entries he’s made to international cartoon competitions around the world, for which he’s received well-deserved success.

Although he’s never considered himself a newspaper gag cartoonist, his gift for humour is clear to see in each and every cartoon here. The international competitions have clearly given him the opportunity to shine in a format he just excels at.

Part of that success is that he’s able to work at a greater scale, and with more detail, than is possible with most newspaper and gag cartoons. 

His draughtsmanship is always exceptional, rendering everything from cityscapes to landscapes, hotels to prison yards, in wonderful detail. This wrong-foots the reader instantly as the subject of the gag can be a small aspect of the overall cartoon. But, once you spot it, it’s always rewarding.

Although often lavished with detail, he never seems to over-complicate the cartoon, and because they’re all wordless they translate effortlessly too.

A pilot is walking away from his early airplane past a Lost Luggage booth.I suggested to Ross that some of his cartoons hinted at a  dark humour – something he was quick to disagree about. This made me revisit the cartoons in question. I think it would be fairer to say, then, that Ross has the ability to find an innocence with his humour in any given situation, whether it’s a dinghy of immigrants arriving from stage left in a large hotel swimming pool or the Texas Chainsaw After Sales van arriving post-massacre. The situations themselves may be dark, but the joke itself is without malice. And they most certainly are funny.

My only regret is that the cartoons weren’t any larger – there’s so much to see that even at the size they’re reproduced they could still have benefited from being bigger still. Of course, economics surely played a part in that – bigger pics mean a different layout or more pages after all.

There really are some wonderful gags here (the great outdoorsman with a tent constructed of solar panels being a personal favourite), which, other than the few we’ve reproduced in Jester, you’re unlikely to have seen before. 

So, from that perspective, it’s well worth your investment to get a copy. In the arid landscape of cartoon collections, this is like stumbling upon a cool, fresh, mountain stream.

In my humble opinion, Ross is one of our greatest cartoonists, and as evidence, I offer this book. 

What’s more, it’s a reasonable price, too. 

The book is available via or head straight on over to Amazon.

Go on, get ordering…

And if you liked that: I was able to pick up a second-hand copy of Ross’s 1987 collection “The Blow-Up Doll Companion”. Funny stuff.

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