World’s Greatest Cartoon

Posted by on September 15th, 2010 at 9:12 AM

This may be it. It’s called “The One-Note Man” and is by H. M. Bateman (1887-1970), who made quite a name for himself with Punch and The Tatler during the first half of the 20th century. A handsome web site devoted to Bateman (and found here) tells us that he was “the highest paid and most copied humorist of the time” and that G. K. Chesterton praised him as “the master of wild exactitude.” Normally, I find anything said by Chesterton to be suspect, but in this case I’ll cut him a break.

I love “One-Note Man.” In fact, it bowls me over. You hear about how a given spy novel or whatever “transcends its genre.” I think “One Note Man” transcends an entire art form, that of cartooning. In doing superlatively well what a cartoon is supposed to do, it also accomplishes something most cartoons don’t come close to accomplishing, which is to help us feel and understand one of those bedrock facts of human existence that we can’t quite assimilate without a superior artist to help us along. What fact is that? Well, I won’t tell you, so read the cartoon.

Now, from the pages of Punch in 1921 . . . “The One-Note Man.”








Damn, it deserves more space for the reproduction. But such are the limits of the Internet.

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3 Responses to “World’s Greatest Cartoon”

  1. Jeff Albertson says:

    Bateman was God…or was it Lowry?
    Tom, put us out of our misery…what’s the address of that Bateman site?

  2. Tom Crippen says:

    I didn’t give the address, but I gave the link. Just click and you get all you need to now.