Tom Hart's afterward for the Gillis book
I happily wrote this about the Gillis ArtShow/Book: A round-headed man puts a pistol to his temple. With his other hand, he holds a finger to his ear to dampen the blast. He grimaces.
What Gillis (Gil Murray) has shown us in this simple cartoon is what many of our greatest comedians show us: that in the face of life's biggest miseries, our little efforts mean nothing. And here, in this elegant demonstration, Gil has shown us that even taking the final way out will be complicated with miseries that we will be ineffective to lessen. Our lives are paved with frustration and annoyances from beginning to end.
Beckett's characters wait endlessly for solutions that never come. Buster Keaton wrestles like a tiny insect against a steamboat, a locomotive or the affections of the other sex.
Gillis' characters are ineffective in suicide, they drink to enliven and energize. Amidst larger chaoses they find themselves swatting flies.
Gil's comics fit in with into a long lineage of wordless cartoonists who traffic in misery and loneliness but also slapstick and social commentaries- cartoonists like Sempe, Steig, Leunig, Aragones.
Like many of our miserable humorists, he delights in visual puns. Thus, a general's mustache as well as his epaulets should be trimmed and groomed. A prisoner is in tell-tale stripes, and the prison bars which keep him are also stripes, perpendicular to his uniform. He sucks delightedly on a curved striped candy cane. As a distracted fisherman reads, his bait is ignored by an equally engaged fish.
The cartoons in this collection are a small sampling of the best from Gil's large output from the 70s and 80s. We're honored to present them here.