What’s So Funny?
by Andy Mason
A thoroughly researched thesis on South African cartoon and comic art, this book tends to focus on the politically inspired output of SA’s greatest talents – from Boonzaaier to Bauer to Botes. I was surprised to find some unseen gems by George Cruikshank and James Gillray reproduced within. Andy Mason is a scholar of the art form, and this is an impressive piece of work – if only it was printed in full colour! – J.B.
“Andy Mason embarks on a fascinating journey through the history of South African cartooning, tracing a vigorous lineage of satirical art that begins in the colonial period and continues unabated to this day. For hundreds of years, democratic societies have set aside a space – the ‘jester’s space’ – where satirists are given license to taunt and mock the rich and powerful. This tradition has survived the bitter struggles of South African history, and the ongoing encounter between pen and sword continues to produce powerful, sometimes agonising images of a nation battling to come to terms with its own identity. Told with an autobiographical slant and based on interviews with most of South Africa’s top cartoonists and satirists, What’s So Funny? provides a unique glimpse into the world of our visual jesters, how they go about their work, where they find their ideas, and what drives them in their frenzied pursuit of the next laugh.” – cciba