Salmonella Smorgasbord – a celebration of Mark Stafford’s career.

From the unique mind of Mark Stafford comes Salmonella Smorgasbord, a celebration of his cartoons and illustration work. Stafford is an immensely talented comic artist who is currently the cartoonist-in-residence for the Cartoon Museum in London. His published graphic novels include Cherubs! (with Bryan Talbot), The Man who Laughs, Lip Hook and The Bad Bad Place (with David Hine).  This collection covers the majority of his shorter works and several examples of his commercial portfolio.

To say this book goes deep into Stafford’s back catalogue would be an understatement. Readers are treated to not just his illustration work but also his theatre posters, record covers, beer labels and t-shirt designs, cartoons, collaborations and much more.

Stafford has a unique style that is well suited to the realm of cartooning. His twisted caricatures and zany images exceed both from a satirical standpoint and evoking a raw reaction from the reader. All this playing off a strong dry wit that permeates his work. In addition to his satirical pieces, he is highly skilled in dark storytelling. Having already demonstrated this across his many graphic novels, it’s no surprise to see it is prevalent in most of his other works. Combined together, it creates some rather powerful cartooning. Whether it be people in impossibly bleak situations trying to accentuate the positives or a caveman discovering music after swatting a fly, all his piece flits between dark and disturbing to dry takedowns of modern life or just something random yet insanely funny.

Salmonella Smorgasbord is a tremendously entertaining journey through Stafford’s career and a showcase of British cartooning at its best. Those who have followed his work will definitely want this on their shelves whilst anyone who appreciates dry humour with a sometimes dark and biting edge should definitely give this collection a look.

Salmonella Smorgasbord is out 20 July from Soaring Penguin Press (9781908030481, p/b, £24.99)

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