Friday, May 21, 2021


 NSFW (of course)

It's always welcome news to hear about a new book from the brilliant John Cuneo.

Complex and hilarious, fearless and shocking, there's no one like Cuneo in the field of illustration today.  Perhaps there never was.  

I laughed out loud several times reviewing this book.  It's hard to understand how drawings can simultaneously be so wildly imaginative and so excruciatingly true. 

Cuneo's drawing becomes more sophisticated with each new book.

I love this drawing of a clown circle:

Note details below like the little hop by the clown in the background; the banana peels spread around the ground; those great checkered shorts and boots on the clown in the foreground-- special touches typical of Cuneo.  

Cuneo obviously pays a heavy personal price to create pictures like this, which makes the price of the book a comparative bargain. 

96 color pages, 6.5 x 10.5, available from Fantagraphics or The Golden Notebook independent bookstore.


MORAN said...

Cuneo is awesome.

xopxe said...

Those are great. It reminds me of the energy of Carlos Nine's work, whom I love too.

kev ferrara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew Adams said...

I clicked on the clown circle picture on my phone, and had to scroll it left to right, and burst out laughing as I got to the clown looking at the other clown with such disgust and disbelief and it is perfect. Most artists would have focused it on the hand holding the penis as the funny part, but that is only snicker worthy at best. It's the clown's face that makes it really funny. Most artist's would have drawn an exaggerated shock face but that dead eyed look of disgust and loathing and even a little pity is a complete conversation that has occured many times previously. And it might have worked with guys in business suits but somehow the clown circle (funny in it's own right) just makes this more funny. Like the clown at the end has no right to complain because this is a clown circle and Frank is just being a clown.

chris bennett said...

I love the way the nature of Cuneo's line induces a sense of organic depth, transforming the paper into a space within which his forms tremble into life.

But I also like the way in which his world is an ungraspable reflection of ours. Most cartoons are explicit in nature and can be cast off once the point, and its utility, has been registered. But the most insightful works are implicit and therefore continue to sustain our attention. Ronald Searle is such an artist, and so is Cuneo. Matthew Adams made some interesting points about the clown circle picture, so I'll take up his baton and run a little further: it's one of the best satires I've seen on identity politics.

You've sold it to me David - I will drive to my local bookshop and order this.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for introducing me to Cuneo. Every time you show his stuff I'm impressed all over again.


Jaker Harwell said...

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Richard said...

I don’t really consume comedy art, I’m really just interested in art as drama, so I’m not in market for these pictures and don’t really get anything from them. But he’s clearly got some skill and pulls off some interesting abstractions.

I’m not really sure how art as comedy works. Most of the funniest content I consume these days is on Tik Tok or BBC 4, which certainly does not align with my understanding of art as it applies to the dramatic mood. Something I’ll think about.

Would be happy to read anything on Comedy Art if anyone has good suggestions.

kev ferrara said...


I've never listened to BBC 4. Any particular episodes of any particular comedy shows you would recommend?

Regarding Comedy Art, I doubt there's any how-to books, let alone any that contain theory. And most theoretical works on comedy in general are awful. However, truly funny people have offered up some hints over the years.

Elaine May: "Drama is a grand sweep. Comedy is in the details."
Mark Twain/Steve Allen: "Comedy is Tragedy plus time."
Steve Martin: "Comedy is a distortion of what's happening."
Larry Gelbart: "Behind a great joke is a dark truth."
Neil Simon: "All humor is based on hostility."

And so on.

jeanne said...

Lecoq's work could be of interest here....