After what feels like months of pandering to other people’s tastes, I thought I’d start to draw and post a few cartoons which are closer to what I want to be drawing (such as Strange Cartoon #1 below). That’s not to say that the cartoons I’ve previously been posting aren’t also to my taste but I definitely try to restrain my tendency towards the weird when submitting cartoons to Private Eye. These cartoons are probably unpublishable on anything other than a blog.
As I continually mention, my favourite single panel gag cartoonist is B. Kliban. Since the moment I first saw his cartoons, I knew they lay exactly on my comedic meridian. The problem is that they probably lie well to the left of what most people find funny otherwise Kliban’s work would be better known than it is. In fact, if he’s known by most people, it’s because of his Cats calendars which continue to sell. I hate Kliban’s cats, though not his volume ‘Cat’ which is another of his comic masterpieces. I mean I hate the merchandise produced by his estate and which probably earns them a fortune. Kliban himself died in 1990, aged only 55.
Whilst his cats are widely available, his cartoons are completely out of print and you can only find them via second-hand book sites. The fact that his best work isn’t more widely available is another sad indictment of modern tastes when he left us possibly the most stupefying (in every sense of that word) cartoons ever created.
Which brings me to my good deed of the day: all the books by B. Kliban worth buying, each one only a click away on Abebooks. My advice is to begin with Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head, Whack Your Porcupine or Two Guys Fooling Around with the Moon. Those three contain some of his best cartoons and are very cheap to buy. Buy ‘Luminous Animals’ and ‘Advanced Cartooning’ only when you have a full blown Kliban addiction. It took me a long time to track down reasonably priced copies, though I see here a couple going for around £20 which is something of a bargain.