Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Finished: “Violent Cases” and “The Comical tragedy or tragical comedy of Mr. Punch”

Finished: Violent Cases and The Comical tragedy or tragical comedy of Mr. Punch by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean

Both graphic novels - short stories really - are by Gaiman with artwork by McKean. I'm lumping the two titles together because they are very similar. Both have an adult narrator telling strange or spooky tales from childhood. Both narrators struggle to recall details from their memories without the assistance of older relatives or friends. The stories are told conversationally to a friend, as if over an evening drink.

Violent Cases has the narrator recalling when he was 4 ½ years old and had to visit a local osteopath. The osteopath claimed to have been Al Capone's doctor. The doctor tells a couple stories, one of the stories is about Capone murdering several people with a baseball bat.

Comical Tragedy recalls a boy's time spent with his grandparents in the 60s. His grandfather owned a seaside entertainment arcade that was slowly going out of business. A "Professor Punch" gets a concession in the building and puts on a Punch and Judy puppet show. The Professor may or may not be the original Mr. Punch and, therefore, cannot be killed. Eh. Neat artwork, drawings mixed with photographs and printed word. I think I missed the point of the story.

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