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I hesitated a bit about writing this post, as it seems to me that everybody already knows (and likes) Scottish cartoonist Tom Gauld and therefore it’s a bit like launching into a review of a Beatles album (vaguely embarrassing, and completely unnecessary). I have also previously talked about him in Tentacle Tuesday Masters: Tom Gauld (and you can head over that way, if you want some biographical details of his life). That being said, his art is not nearly as ubiquitous as it deserves to be.
I happily received his latest book, Revenge of the Librarians* (2022, Drawn & Quarterly**), as a Christmas present, and I remain impressed by the scope of Gauld’s wit and his instantly recognisable style. He also has an impeccable sense of composition; each drawing is perfectly framed, often sneakily implying something happening almost out of sight, hinted at by a chunk of wall just at the edge of the panel, a partially seen open door, an alluring bit of tentacle. He’s funny but poignant. I can only imagine how many of his cartoons are pasted over the doors of professors in all fields and walks of research (it’s something people still do, right?) I can consume Gauld’s perfect little microcosms like semechki, but try to read only a few every day to prolong the enjoyment.
It was really difficult narrowing down today’s selection to ‘just’ 12 strips (I didn’t want to annoy my master-scanner co-admin RG too much). The following have been scanned from the aforementioned Revenge of the Librarians, as well as You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack (2013) and Department of Mind-Blowing Theories (2020). Enjoy this sampling, whether you are already a Gauld convert or have never heard of him!
Want more? Head over to The Guardian.
* French edition La revanche des bibliothécaires (from Editions Alto and Editions 2024) has been chosen for the 2023 Selection officielle of the Angoulême comics festival.
** That makes it two worthwhile things that Drawn & Quarterly has published… or is the process of publishing, the other being Tove Jansson’s Moomin stories.
These are amazing. One can see some superficial resemblance to xkcd, but I much prefer these. Gauld’s style is obviously much richer, his humor much more pithy and unforced.
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I’m a fan of xkcd, too, agreed on all counts!