Author(s): Mark Bryant
In an age before TV and radio the impact and importance of cartoon art was immense, especially when the only sources of information were silent cinema newsreels, posters, newspapers and books - all largely black and white. The cartoon had an immediacy and universal accessibility, giving a message words could not convey. So, not surprisingly, the Great War proved an extraordinarily fertile time for cartoonists. When Zeppelins blackened the sky and U-boats challenged the Royal Navy's supremacy at sea, it was Heath Robinson's crazy cartoons and the antics of Bairnsfather's immortal 'Old Bill' that kept the British upper lip resolutely stiff. And who could take Kasier Bill, the Red Baron and all the mighty Prussians at all seriously when H.M. Bateman and Bert Thomas cocked a snook at all they held dear and the pages of Punch, Bystander, London Opinion, Le Rire, Le Canard Enchaine and such US journals as Puck, Judge and Life kept everyone amused? But not all the cartoons were lighthearted.
Indeed, the vicious drawings of Louis Raemakers were powerful enough to call Holland's neutrality into question and hard-hitting cartoons by such committed artists as Dyson, the American Art Young and David Low caused considerable embarrassment to their respective governments. The Central Powers also had a wealth of talent labouring to counteract the Allies' propaganda machine and prewar satirical journals such as Kladderadatsch, Simplicissimus and Jugend rose to the challenge, producing some of the best work by such enduring artists as Johnson, Gulbransson and Grosz amongst others. Following on from the success of Grub Street's World War II in Cartoons, also by Mark Bryant, this book examines cartoons from both sides of the conflict, both in colour and black-and-white, and skilfully blends them with text to produce this unique and significant visual history of the First World War.
"Bryant follows up his magisterial Second World War volume... brilliantly realised and often revelatory... a wonderful book." British Journalism Review
Dr Mark Bryant was born in Dorset, is a philosophy graduate of London University and has a PhD in History from the University of Kent. After more than a decade in literary and academic book publishing he turned freelance in 1987, working as an editor, writer, journalist, lecturer and exhibition curator. Honorary Secretary of the British Cartoonists' Association for nine years, he has been Secretary of the London Press Club since 2000. He has organised cartoon exhibitions, given lectures on the history of cartoons and served on the jury of international cartoon competitions in Poland, Slovakia, Yugoslavia, Germany, Hungary, Turkey, Egypt, Denmark, France, Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy, the UK and elsewhere and is the author of several books - including Dictionary of 20th Century British Cartoonists & Caricaturists, Dictionary of British Cartoonists & Caricaturists 1730-1980 (with S. Heneage) and God in Cartoons. He has also edited/compiled more than 30 short-story and cartoon collections (amongst other books), including MAC's Year (since 1990), 25 Years of MAC, The Complete Colonel Blimp, Vicky's Supermac, H.M.Bateman, Nicolas Bentley and The Comic Cruikshank. He lives in London.