Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Best of Punch Cartoons – book launch

A book launch for The Best of Punch Cartoons took place at Harrods in West London last night. PCOer Pete Dredge reports

There was a healthy turnout of cartoonists with many PCO members on show; Clive Collins, Martin Honeysett, Ken Pyne, Geoff Thompson, John Jensen, Nick Newman, Chris Burke, Steve Way, Stan McMurtry, Arthur Reid, Mike Turner, Adam Singleton, Martin Rowson, Royston Robertson and Colin Earle were all there.

It was "just like the old Punch do's" according to the Daily Mail's Mac (McMurtry), but it felt more like a long postponed wake in many ways – Punch went under in 2002. However, the pile of heavy book product in the corner soon made it clear that this was a sale.

There was no sign of Mr Fayed last night so it was left to one of the publishers to get the proceedings under way. The book's editor, Helen Walesek from the Punch Library, gave a knowledgeable, academic but somewhat backward-looking speech on how uncannily relevant the old Punch cartoon stock was to today's social maladies. Sadly, there was no hint of regret that this continuous stream of creativity had been allowed to run dry.

After the speeches (discount book plugging!) the cartoonists were invited up on to the stage for a photo opportunity. It reminded me of those occasions when an old football manager dies and the club invite a host of former players from a bygone era to hobble on to the pitch to take the applause.

No complimentary books for the contributors. I'll have to get mine from Amazon.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent