The old adage that a picture paints a thousand words has never been more true than when applied to the cartoon. Acting as a form of pictorial shorthand, a few strokes of the pen have managed to encapsulate the great dramas of the war in a way impossible in prose. Whether producing strips, social comment in magazines like Punch or Lilliput, savage caricature of allies and enemies, or a daily chronicle of events at home or abroad, little has escaped the cartoonist's pen. The cartoon has a special place in the history of World War II. During the London Blitz the British upper lip was kept resolutely stiff by the antics of Strube's little man growing marrows and the redfaced indignity of Low's Colonel Blimp. Fougasse's Underground posters, Lancaster's pocket cartoons, Pont's unique drawings and the work of Vicky have an immediacy that has been unaffected by the passage of time.
Giles, Searle, Illingworth, Zec and many more portrayed the grim realities and humorous asides of the conflict for British Empire readers while across the Atlantic a discerning public alternately praised and attacked the artists of the New Yorker and the big regional dailies, from Peter Arno to Arthur Szyk and from Saul Steinberg to Daniel Fitzpatrick. Krokodil meanwhile produced its own brand of Soviet humour and satire, and cartoons were an important part of the Resistance movements in all occupied countries. The Axis powers' view of the war has often been glossed over in pictorial histories, but considerable talent existed in Germany, Italy, Japan, and elsewhere between 1939 and 1945, drawing on the genius of such superb prewar publications as Simplicissimus. Also included is the work of cartoonists in Vichy France and other collaborationist regimes. World War II in Cartoons is divided into chapters covering the war year-by-year, each chapter prefaced with a concise introduction that provides a historical framework for the cartoons of that year.
Altogether some 300 cartoons, in colour and black and white, have been skilfully blended by cartoon historian Dr Mark Bryant to produce a unique record of World War II, one which will appeal to a very wide audience.
Publisher: Grub Street
Number of pages: 160
Weight: 975 g
Dimensions: 252 x 196 x 17 mm