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1964 1st edition "First Printing" stated; SIGNED BY HERB BLOCK on inside page - see pic; Simon and Schuster publishers, New York; oversized hardbound in red and tan boards with bold black lettering on cover; very good condition with unmarked pages; has a couple of publication errors with pieces of pages not cut properly; full of great illustrations.


Description -

Herbert Block, aka "Herblock", was one of the all-time great editorial cartoonists, a multiple Pulitzer Prize-winner who worked from the 1920s all the way up until his death in 2001. This volume collects examples of his work from the years 1958-1964, and it's a great snapshot of history. The thing that really struck me was the extent to which we're still struggling with the same issues Herblock depicts in those old cartoons: The very first cartoon in the book is a complaint about the broken and outdated Electoral College system. And it's not hard to see modern parallels to his depiction of GOP Senator and Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater as a wealthy elitist who consolidates power by cozying up to right-wing extremists. The separation of church and state, balancing the budget vs. maintaining social programs, gun control...they're all here, and were just as intractable then as now.

The cartoons are mostly printed four to a page. They read perfectly well at that size, but I was glad to see a few printed at half-page or full-page size, where you can really study and admire Herblock's technique. Those fat, loose brushstrokes, combined with gritty grey shading, are really the epitome of classic editorial cartooning. Herblock was perhaps best known for his brutal caricatures of Richard Nixon, but we only get the briefest taste of it here. In '64, Nixon was a failed Presidential candidate, and Block expresses relief that the country was finally rid of the guy. How little he suspected...! On the other hand, we get plenty of examples of Dwight Eisenhower, looking like a particularly harried and hapless sitcom dad. Lots of JFK, too, but Herblock clearly likes him too much to really lampoon him the way he does figures like Nikita Khrushchev or George Wallace.

The cartoons are interspersed with humorous text essays by Block, discussing many of the same themes and issues that he deals with in the cartoons. I personally found these a little bit labored and overwrought...or maybe they just seem that way when put next to his succinct and punchy drawings. Herblock the writer is no match for Herblock the artist.

If you're a student of history, or a student of great cartooning, you'll find lots to chew on here. 

Straight Herblock by Herbert Block

SKU: BS70s
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