Before Coraline, before American Gods, in the early days of the Sandman series, Neil Gaiman collaborated with Dave McKean on some truly groundbreaking graphic novels: Violent Cases (1987), Signal to Noise (1989), and the work discussed in this Weird Studies episode. The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr Punch (1994) is the story of a boy whose initiation into the dark realities of life, death, and family plays out in the shadow of the (in)famous Punch & Judy puppet show. Unlike some of Gaiman's more overtly marvellous offerings, Mr Punch is a subtle fantasy whose weirdness hides in the gaps and folds of lost time. It is in Dave McKean's brilliant art that the magic shines through, letting us know that the narrative is only part of a vaster, hidden thing. In this episode, Phil and JF discuss the themes, ideas, and mysteries of an unparalleled piece of comics art.
Watch Aaron Poole's 9-minute short film "Oracle"
Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, _The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch
"That's the Way to Do It! A History of Punch and Judy", Victoria Albert Museum
Ronald Briggs, Father Christmas
Clement Greenberg, American art critic
Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time
Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics
J. F. Martel, Patreon Post on The Untimely
Weird Studies, Episodes 20 and 21 on the Trash Stratum
Weird Studies, Episode 72 on the Castrati
Samuel Pepys, English administrator and diarist
Nick Lowe, The Beast in Me