Jack Ziegler is a pivotal figure in the history of contemporary cartooning. An artist who redefined what a gag cartoon can be, he blends the conventions of a comic strip with the traditional format of a one-panel captioned cartoon, giving readers of The New Yorker some of their funniest moments for nearly 30 years. And though his self-stated ambition is modest-"just wanting to be funny"-his editors over the years praise him as a genius with a "touch of madness." (Balancing that is the opinion, shared by the artist himself, of friend and fellow cartoonist Bill Woodman: "Oh, Jack-he's just nuts, that's all.")
Third in The Essential Cartoonists Library is The Essential Jack Ziegler, joining The Essential George Booth and The Essential Charles Barsotti in respectfully celebrating this unique visual form and its great artists. Compiled and edited by Lee Lorenz, former art editor of The New Yorker, it presents approximately 150 of the artist's best cartoons, as well as photographs, insight into his background, influences, inspirations, working habits, and the appreciations of fellow cartoonists, including Roz Chast, Mick Stevens, and Bob Mankoff.
A sharp social satirist whose work sneaks up on you, Ziegler offers a deadpan yet bemused portrait of middle America. Everything appears normal-yet of course it's not. Television comes in by pipeline. "Say, this isn't so bad," comes a thought bubble from under a grave. And two dogs suspiciously eye a cat calendar. No idea is too far-fetched, too silly, too pointed-and suddenly you're laughing out loud.