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The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch: A Romance
by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean (illustrator)
Vertigo, 1995. Paperback. 96 pages.
ISBN 1563892464 (buy at Amazon.co.uk)
Bought at Amazon.co.uk for £7.19
Neil Gaiman has several recurring themes to which he revisits again and again like the swallows returning to Capostrano. Foremost among these is the persistence of memory, which is the theme of "The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch".
   The tale revolves around a Punch n' Judy show at a seaside carnival and how it acts as a trigger for a young boys memories of his family. As with much of Gaiman's work, there are tales within tales here, and the real story he tells is more implied than elucidated upon.
   Dave McKean's art underscores this theme beautifully, with the "real" characters in the story as cartoon caricatures while the puppets look like photographs, exactly the focus with which young children would concentrate their memories. Can we not all remember a favorite toy more easily than our parents faces when we were little?
   A marvelous and poignant tale well worth your time and money.


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